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'Let councils do commissioning'

Responsibility for commissioning NHS services should be stripped from PCTs and given to local government, a group

of leading academics has

proposed.

Researchers at the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham said the move would create a single 'locally accountable' commissioning body for health and social care.

This would allow commissioners to view health in a broad sense, not just in terms of illness and acute care, and make local health services democratically accountable.

The report, Creating NHS Local, said PCTs should remain but focus solely on providing services.

'In practical terms, this might also bring scope to shift resources towards "care closer to home" and public health,' it concluded.

Lead author Dr Jon Glasby said PCTs needed to have local accountability in order to make decisions about rationing resources.

'But also it would allow the NHS to deliver a lot of its priorities – for example, local authorities are very good at managing cash-strapped budgets,' he added.

Dr Ken Aswani, PEC chair network lead for the NHS Alliance and PEC chair for Waltham Forest PCT said a lot

of time and effort had gone in to developing PCTs as robust commissioning organisations.

'There's no guarantee switching commissioning would

produce massively different

results.'

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