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GP leader slams NHS bureaucracy after merger revelation

By Ian Quinn

A GP leader has slammed the millions ‘wasted' on bureaucracy after merger plans were revealed by NHS chiefs in Britain's second biggest city, years after a restructure which was bitterly opposed by practices.

The three Birmingham Primary Care Trusts revealed this week they were planning a major restructure in a bid to save money, faced with the financial crisis hitting trusts accross the country.

Plans including a fully fledged merger of Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust and NHS South Birmingham, have been mooted as a way for the trusts to improve their World Class Commissioning performance.

Dr Robert Morley, executive secretary of Birmingham LMCs, said GPs in the city ‘strongly welcomed' the proposals but he added: ‘This is effectively what we proposed back in 2002. Unfortunately since then we've had first four trusts now three. They have all spent millions on separate provider arms and now here we are back at square one.'

Dr Morley attacked one option being discussed by the trusts, which would involve them keeping three PCT boards, overseen by a separate management team.

‘The idea of a ridiculous bloated and complex management set up like that is ludicrous and the money would be better spent in primary care,' he said.

‘Of course this is all driven by the financial crisis but a merger would be the best result. The management costs of these three trusts are absolutely enormous,' he added.

The merger plans come just a week after a Pulse investigation revealed management costs were spiralling at PCTs across the country.

During our investigation, of the three PCTs in Birmingham, only South Birmingham revealed its management costs despite a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

It revealed management costs in South Birmingham alone had shot up by a quarter in the past two years, to a projected £18.2m.

Despite repeated requests by Pulse, all three Birmingham PCTs refused to comment on their merger plans, other than to say further proposals would be presented to West Midlands SHA by early next year.

Dr Robert Morley: attacked millions 'wasted' on PCT management costs Dr Robert Morley: attacked millions 'wasted' on PCT management costs

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