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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Newcastle – blighted by PCT mergers

Despite good managers at the local trust, a lack of organisation is severely hampering PBC in Newscastle.

Despite good managers at the local trust, a lack of organisation is severely hampering PBC in Newscastle.



PCT mergers have resulted in a complete planning blight and held up PBC activity, according to Dr Mike Scott, a GP partner in Newburn, Newcastle.

GPs had high hopes that PBC would allow the people at the coalface to influence the big decisions about patient care, says Dr Scott. But PCT restructuring has caused ‘complete planning blight'.

The merger of the Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland PCTs' management structures has held up work for two years. ‘The managers we had got to know had disappeared or had new jobs and everyone was nervous of making mistakes and losing their job so we lost momentum.'

Dr Scott admits: ‘I have got really close to packing in PBC at times. The managers are great but at times the organisation has not worked well.'

Obtaining sufficient management support for PBC clusters has been a sticking point. Central and West Newcastle ‘will be working closely' together to overcome this and to ensure there is less ‘duplication of effort', Dr Scott says.

There are schemes up and running but only where work began before PBC, when GPs acted as clinical advisers to the PCT.

One project aims to improve care for patients needing chemotherapy. Pre-chemotherapy blood tests will be carried out in the community, so patients are saved what is sometimes an unnecessary journey and a 90-minute wait for the test and results.

Another used PBC to fund meetings between practices and nursing homes. GPs discovered many elderly patients admitted to hospital were suffering from urinary tract infections. ‘Why spend £3,000 in hospital when all you needed was 30p in antibiotics?' asks Dr Scott.

Nursing home staff were offered training in understanding UTIs – following a protocol for identifying residents with infections so that a prescription can be dispensed the same day.

Newcastle: 2 year hold up due to PCT merger Newcastle: 2 year hold up due to PCT merger

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