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NHS chief exec questions cost of SHAs and PCTs

PCTs and SHAs look set for a reorganisation after the NHS chief executive questioned the £1.4 billion bill they incur.

By Susan McNulty

PCTs and SHAs look set for a reorganisation after the NHS chief executive questioned the £1.4 billion bill they incur.

Speaking at today's NAPC annual conference, David Nicholson spelt out the challenge ahead for the NHS and the need to focus on quality.

He said there was a need to focus on areas that would make a ‘big difference' for patients.

He added: ‘We spend £1.4 billion on running costs of PCTs and SHAs.

‘Can we genuinely say that that money is spent to best effect?

‘Can we say all of that money is there to support and facilitate services for patients.

‘Can some of it be spent better? Can we organise ourselves in a better way? The answer is undoubtedly "yes".'

And this ‘obsession with organisation' was holding back the transformation of community services, he said.

‘When you talk to people about community services they want to talk about governance issues. That's not what's going to win this battle.'

NAPC president, Dr James Kingsland, who followed the chief executive's presentation asked the conference: ‘Why would David Nicholson tell us (the £1.4 billion figure). Why would he question that? It must be that we need to use that better and more efficiently.'

An announcement on changes to payment by results will also be made before the end of the year.

David Nicholson said: ‘There is a whole series of things we need to do to PBR.

‘PBR gives incentives to do more and more. It does not give incentives to improve quality and reduce costs.'

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