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Government gives green light for private sector expansion

By Gareth Iacobucci

The department of health has given the green light for PCTs to increase the use of the private sector in advising them on how to spend NHS cash.

It comes after Pulse revealed last week that a host of PCTs were clammering to agree new deals in order to meet stiff targets set under the Government's flagship World Class Commissioning scheme.

The Government has been keen to encourage PCTs to make more use of private sector's commissioning skills via the Framework for Procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC) – but so far only a handful have agreed deals.

However, many trusts have been receiving private commissioning advice independent of FESC, with all PCTs in South West SHA and South Central currently being advised by accountancy firms AT Kearney and BUPA health dialog on stimulating the market.

But the DH denied that FESC had failed to take off as planned.

Gary Belfield, director of commissioning, Department of Health, said the DH expected more deals to go through now that the pilot period was over.

He said: ‘Initial contracts let under FESC were part of a pilot programme which has now been completed and it is now available for wider use.

‘FESC is one of a number of options available to the NHS and it has never been considered appropriate for all situations. PCTs and SHAs may still have the need for a more consultancy-based type of support.'

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