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Lansley: No reprieve for PCTs

By Gareth Iacobucci

Exclusive: Health secretary Andrew Lansley has rejected calls from the BMA for PCTs to be given a stay of execution, insisting that NHS managers would ‘frustrate' the GP commissioning revolution if they are kept in place.



In an exclusive interview with Pulse at the NAPC conference in Birmingham, Mr Lansley said that the Department of Health was still sifting through responses to its white paper consultation, and would respond in due course.

But he ruled out any suggestion that PCT or SHA managers could be kept in place beyond 2013, insisting: ‘We've got to take management costs out of the system.'

In its response to the white paper consultation earlier this month, BMA leaders had called for the Government to backtrack on the plans, claiming it would be more cost-effective to keep managers in place while boosting the commissioning powers of GPs.

However Mr Lansley told Pulse: ‘If we are going to achieve the devolution of responsibility, it is very important that we do it in a context where it is real, where it is not like practice-based commissioning in the past, that somehow the intermediate tiers of management are able to frustrate the frontline-led commissioning activity.'

‘Of course it's not any criticism of individuals in primary care trusts - it is a clear philosophical approach which says to have the best functioning health systems we have to bring together the management of care responsibilities, with the management of financial and resource responsibilities. We have to get rid of intermediate tiers of management who would continue to hold onto power and not allow power to be devolved properly to the frontline.

‘The legislation will propose that SHAs and PCTs following the transition will be abolished.'

Mr Lansley also talked about the impact on the NHS of the Comprehensive Spending Review – which he described as ‘very, very difficult' – and the detail of the plans for GPs to take on commissioning responsibility by 2013, which he said was ‘a perfectly practical timescale'.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley spoke exclusively to Pulse Health secretary Andrew Lansley spoke exclusively to Pulse Watch the full interview

Click here for more live coverage from the NAPC conference NAPC conference

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