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DH to see red over trusts failing on PBC

PCTs that fail to deliver on PBC will be rated red under a new performance traffic light system, the Department of Health’s director general of commissioning has revealed.

PCTs that fail to deliver on PBC will be rated red under a new performance traffic light system, the Department of Health's director general of commissioning has revealed.

In an exclusive interview with Practical Commissioning, Mark Britnell said a red rating, under the new world-class commissioning framework, would mean PCTs being sub-jected to action plans and close regional or national scrutiny.

The first annual ratings are due to be issued in 2009/10.

Mr Britnell said practice-based commissioners would be invited to assess PCTs on how well they were developing PBC against world-class commissioning competencies.

Dr James Kingsland, NAPC GP chair, warned the idea would only work if it had real teeth.

He said: ‘It's going to need evidence of what the PCT has done, how it plans to develop PBC further and the results.

‘A red light must mean more than merely a slap on the wrist.

It should require significant measures that can bring about a change and punitive measures if PCTs don't have it turned around by a certain time. What we don't want is to hear "trust me, I'm a PCT".'

Dr Kingsland said most PCTs were still to get fully on board with PBC and estimated only 20% of practices had truly meaningful budgets to work with at present.

Dr Mike Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, said he thought the proposal was a good idea.

‘We really need to turn the heat up on PBC. I don't blame PCTs that have not found it easy – they've had to undergo change and meet targets such as the 18-week rule. But now it's essential they get into gear and this is a good way to make sure they do.

‘It will be a good signal to commissioners because they will see the DH is seriously behind them.'

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