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GPs angry over 'secret' practice-based commissioning report

By Georgie Hobbs

The Government has been attacked for ordering PCTs and health bodies to keep quiet about mixed recent results from its rolling study into the take up of practice based commissioning.

The study, of 1,138 practices, found that 30% of GPs believed practice-based commissioning has not improved care.

The NHS Alliance today criticised the Government, which it claimed had told health chiefs to keep the results secret from practices taking part in PBC.

'It is puzzling to see that practices have had to wait for this information for several weeks after their PCTs had received it – and were instructed to keep it secret. Why the insistence on secrecy, even if only for a limited time?' the Alliance said in a statement

NHS Alliance national lead for PBC, Dr David Jenner, said: 'For the future, we hope the Department will provide the results to PCTs and practices at the same time. We are expected to work together as equal partners, and that means we should be treated as equal partners.'

The survey shows only 12% of Gps feel PBC has imporved care – up 1% from the previous survey published by the department in October. Those who said it was ‘too early to tell' rose 9% from 37% to 46%.

But while GP support for PBC rose slightly from 57% to 59%, many remained unconvinced of its implementation by PCTs. A majority 49 % of practices rated the quality of managerial support from their PCT as poor, while 42 % rated it as good.

Previous results of the survey showed that 51% of GPs believed their PCT provided ‘poor' PBC managerial support.

The latest figures, taken between September and November, reveal that 54% of practices have now agreed a commissioning plan with their PCT, a jump of 8% from the previous study. Likewise, 66% of practices said they had been given an indicative budget by their PCT, up from 56% in the previous survey.

Dr David Jenner

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