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DoH rejects criticism of PBC and PCT policies

The Department of Health has flatly rejected a damning criticism of its policies on practice-based commissioning and PCT mergers.

A Health Select Committee report accused ministers of making policy 'on the hoof', of making 'ill-thought out' and 'disruptive' changes with only 'a mockery of a consultative process'.

The committee also criticised the Government for its 'complacent attitude' to how practice-based commissioning might create perverse incentives.

But in its response, the department insisted the reforms were not 'change for change's sake'.

It said: 'It is part of a planned and managed programme of NHS reform aimed at delivering improved quality of care for patients and value for money.

'We have listened to stakeholders and reflected their views as our policy has been


GPs said the response did nothing to answer the many important questions raised about the policies.

Dr Peter Reader, medical director of Islington PCT, who gave evidence to the committee on behalf of the NHS Alliance, said there was 'no meat or evidence' in the response.

'We were very clear that the finances have driven this.'

Dr Fay Wilson, secretary of Londonwide LMCs, said reducing the number of PCTs was the right move, but had been done in the wrong way.

And Dr Peter Calveley, who has just stepped down as PEC chair for West Lincolnshire PCT, said: 'I don't think the argument has been made how the new PCTs will be better at commissioning. I'm perplexed.'

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