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Integrated care organisations 'the biggest PBC issue in 2009'

The progress of integrated care organisation pilots will be by far the most important issue for PBC in 2009 according to a survey carried out by Practical Commissioning.

The progress of integrated care organisation pilots will be by far the most important issue for PBC in 2009 according to a survey carried out by Practical Commissioning.

More than half the 100 questioned, two-thirds of whom were GPs, thought the pilots would have more impact on the development of PBC in the coming year than the SHA Innovation Fund, HRG4 tariffs or World Class Commissioning.

The results come as the Department of Health decides which applications will make the final 15 to 20 pilots to be announced next month from a shortlist of 37 pilots revealed at the end of December.

Dr James Kingsland, former NAPC chair, was one of those celebrating with the shortlisting of his Wallasey Health Alliance LLP – a service designed to facilitate discharge and reduce hospital stays by working across care organisations within a population of about 60,000.

But he said he had been surprised to see some integrated care projects ‘going into the sunset' when others were still on the starting line.

He said: ‘It's a shame they're not going to have the opportunity to be evaluated alongside the others.'

Dr Mike Dixon, NHS Alliance chair, said it was important PBC groups working on integrated care continued to make progress even if they didn't make the shortlist. ‘The message is the pilots are just that – I would hope they're not going to make a huge difference on their own.

‘It's important that anyone with an integrated care idea gets a look in.'

Among the prominent bids that failed to make the shortlist were those from Dr Ian Greaves, a GP in Gnosall, Staffordshire, and Dr Tim Richardson, director of the Integrated Care Partnership in Surrey.

Dr Greaves said he was particularly disappointed by feedback saying the bid was ‘weak' on value for money: ‘Our PCT is 10% below the national average of use of resources (against capitation). We are 25% below our PCT average and our PBC budget is set on this historical level.'

He added that the project was ‘alive and well' with the PCT supporting the integrated care service through PBC.

Dr Richardson, whose bid was rejected by Surrey PCT at the outset, said his PBC group had not given up.

‘We can do an awful lot of what we wanted to do within PBC and we are in discussions with the PCT about the possibility of our project still finding its legs.'

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