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Government puts extra pressure on PCTs to give GPs PBC support

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government has pledged to clampdown on underperforming PCTs who fail to provide GPs with the tools and support to kickstart Practice Based Commissioning.

Trusts will have to measure up against tough new performance standards in order to achieve targets set by the Government's World Class Commissioning scheme.

The details emerged as the Government launched its new Practice Based Commissioning vision document, in a bid to revitalise the flagship initiative.

The document, aimed at GPs, PCTs and SHAs, acknowledges previous failings with the policy, but stresses that PBC is central to the Government's World Class Commissioning drive.

Trusts will now be required to provide GPs with an indicative budget and an agreed level of financial and management support by May 1 each year, or face failing against WCC competency targets.

PCTs are also expected to agree PBC incentive schemes with GPs that provide ‘better health, better care and better value in specific areas'.

The vision stresses the importance of Integrated Care Organisations as a means of taking PBC forward, but also acknowledges that not all GPs will want to engage with commissioning.

Leading edge GPs will only be allowed more budgetary responsibility if they provide suitably robust business plans, and prove their status as quality providers.

Dr David Colin-Thome, national clinical director for Primary Care at the Department of Health, said the document offered the best chance yet for PBC to succeed.

He said: ‘This is an even higher statement from DH. We've got ministers and senior managers saying so. The whole [WCC] assurance framework will depend on a more rigorous system of performance management.'

Health minister Lord Darzi, who called for the reinvigoration of PBC in his next stage review, said: ‘The new vision goes a long way to set out the roles of practice based commissioners and what they should expect in return.'

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