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Health secretary calls for PBC to be given some ‘umpf’

Health secretary, Andy Burnham has called for a ‘renewed emphasis’ on practice-based commissioning in a bid to keep more patients out of hospital as the NHS grapples with the lean times ahead.

By Susan McNulty

Health secretary, Andy Burnham has called for a ‘renewed emphasis' on practice-based commissioning in a bid to keep more patients out of hospital as the NHS grapples with the lean times ahead.

In a keynote speech at the King's Fund last week Mr Burnham said: ‘We need to put a renewed emphasis on practice-based commissioning, and greater speed in approving business plans that will mean spending differently to keep people out of hospital.'

He added: ‘I will also look at how we stop the perverse incentives that mean that providers are better served admitting people into hospital rather than treating them in the community.'

Mr Burnham made the point that the situation in the NHS now was very different to 1999, the last time the NHS had to deal with tough financial times.

‘There is a very big difference. In 1999, we had an NHS suffering from malnourishment. It will enter 2010 funded at close to the EU average of GDP, a platform of immense strength on which to build.'

He announced a four-year multi-year tariff to be issued in the coming months that will show the ‘most demanding savings' having to be made later.

He added: ‘It will give the NHS certainty and a longer run at the challenge.'

‘We won't dictate to people how to make these savings, these decisions are better made on the ground. But, by giving NHS organisations time to plan, we hope to avoid knee-jerk measures that can destabilise a local health economy.'

He said there would be a greater focus on payments linked to quality and patient satisfaction.

In the question and answer session that followed his speech he said it had taken too long in some cases to get PBC cases approved and that it needed more ‘umpf' behind it.

PBC Masterclass

PBC Masterclass: Regional events

What: These regional PBC events are designed to equip you with the sophisticated skills needed to overcome barriers and push on towards PBC success.

When: 10 individual events running from October 2009 to January 2010

Where: 10 different regions throughout England. Each event has been tailored to address the learning priorities highlighted by practice-based commissioners in that area.

Next steps: Find out more and book

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