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PBC courses aim to sharpen GP skills

GPs and practice managers are being offered the chance to take part in a free university-accredited course to help them sharpen their commissioning skills.

Deadline for applications for the 200 places on the ‘advanced commissioning' course, funded by the Improvement Foundation, is 12 September.

The course will run for 15 months from the end of October and will mean participants spending 16 days away from work attending lectures at a venue still to be arranged.

The rest of the time will involve working from home on three different assignments – evidence-based commissioning, leading-integrated commissioning, and impact analysis of advanced commissioning - to be finished by February, June and October next year.

Applicants will be selected from those working in roles that involve commissioning either NHS services or joint services with the social care sector.

Dr Nav Chana, associate director at the London Deanery, helped developed the course.

He said: "We need to be confident that we can lead the commissioning agenda with our new role in practice-based commissioning. We also need to ensure that we create an integrated and professional commissioning network." The course has been designed by the Improvement Foundation in partnership with the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), NHS Alliance and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

It will be accredited by the University of Teesside at postgraduate certificate level. Ruth Kennedy, Improvement Foundation Chief Executive, said: "Developing exceptional commissioning skills is a priority for the NHS. This course will provide a forum for managers and clinicians to further develop these skills to ensure better services for their local areas."

Kennedy said course organisers were keen that those taking part should be able to contribute to a build-up of regional expertise in the commissioning field.

NAPC chair Dr James Kingsland, a GP in Liverpool, said: "If you are involved in commissioning NHS and social care services as a practice-based commissioner, consortium lead or PCT commissioning manager, this course offers the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge in today's NHS."

He said participants would be a "source of expertise" for local areas.

David Colin-Thome, national clinical director for Primary Care at the Department of Health, said: "A 21st century NHS needs agile, responsive and flexible commissioners. The advanced commissioning course is an excellent way for clinicians and managers in PCTs, practices and local authorities to get the right skills and capability to become world-class commissioners of the future."

A spokeswoman for the Improvement Couse said the awayday lectures would run from 11am to 3pm. Participants would have to arrange and pay for their own accommodation.

For further details, see the Improvement Foundation

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