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PBC 'cavalry' can rescue NHS from recession

By Steve Nowottny

Practice-based commissioning can act as the ‘cavalry to the rescue' to help the NHS through a worsening recession, NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon is to claim today.

He is due to tell a King's Fund/NHS Alliance conference in London that the reduction in referrals where PBC is strong has proved it can help the NHS make real savings.

‘At a time of recession, only the full engagement of front-line clinicians and their patients will enable the NHS to remain sustainable,' Dr Dixon will say. ‘PBC should be seen as the most important lever for improving quality, access and integration as well as being an essential way of the NHS being able to balance its books in times of economic hardship.

But he is also expected to admit that four years after PBC was established, the number of successful groups remains small, and greater engagement at all levels is essential.

‘PCTs and practices must develop closer and more trusting relationships so that, within the conventional NHS line hierarchy, the relationship between PCT, practice and local people is at least as strong as the relationship between PCT, the Strategic Health Authority and the Department of Health.'

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