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PCTs set up FESC alternative

London PCTs have set up their own in-house commissioning support service, rather than buy in external expertise.

London PCTs have set up their own in-house commissioning support service, rather than buy in external expertise.

The move comes after the DH published a list of 14 approved companies in its framework for procuring external support for commissioners (FESC) last month for PCTs needing advice on commissioning services.

London's 30 PCTs have pooled finances to set up a new regional Commissioning Support Service (CSS).

CSS aims to give commissioners more muscle when contracting with acute trusts and to introduce common processes and data analysis. It could save up to £100m on PBC budgets a year, according to a business case for the service that was circulated to PCTs.

Mark Britnell, director general of commissioning and system management at the Department of Health, told Practical Commissioning: ‘We've always said FESC is not the only way you develop capability and capacity. If PCTs can develop it together then that's fantastic.'

Dr Mike Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, said: ‘The sooner practice-based commissioners can get the data and support they need, the better – and I am not concerned how they get it.

‘I suspect there are advantages to this model in terms of sustainability and cutting out the middle man.'

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