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National plan to boost PBC

A leading Government adviser on practice-based commissioning has drawn up plans for nationwide centres of excellence to breathe new life into the flagging scheme.

Dr Mike Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, has tabled proposals for 10 model practices, one in each SHA, to be given concrete budgets for a range of services.

Dr Dixon, who was last week handed a key role as Lord Ara Darzi's lead adviser on commissioning, said pilots could be set up as early as next year.

‘We need a few initiatives to get the wagon moving. The problem is some collectives don't feel they have sufficient ownership of their budget, and they don't feel they're able to make a difference.'

Under current PBC guide-lines, practices are given indicative budgets set by the PCT, which means that, although GPs are given some say over what services they commission, the PCT still ultimately holds the purse strings.

Dr Dixon said: ‘I'm not going the whole hog and saying they would have real budgets. But they would have more independence.'

He envisaged real budgets for services like elective care and unscheduled care for hospitals.

Dr Dixon's initiative comes in the week David Stout, chair of the NHS Confederation's Primary Care Network, said he believed PBC would be scrapped if it did not start working soon. ‘There'll be a new Government in a couple of years, and if we haven't got commissioning to work very effectively in that timescale then it's very likely it'll be abandoned,' he said.

Dr Mike Dixon: propsal for 'centres of excellence' Dr Mike Dixon: propsal for 'centres of excellence'

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