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PECs will still be part of new PCTs

Professional executive committees will remain a part of the structure of new PCTs, the Department of Health has announced.

But the department is to review the role and function of the committees so they fit with new developments in the NHS, such as practice-based commissioning.

A formal consultation on PECs will begin in mid-October, with new arrangements likely to come into effect from next April.

In a letter to strategic health authority chief executives, Duncan Selbie, director general of commissioning at the department, wrote: 'The need to retain PECs in the future is a given. However, their form and function is not, and is something we want to discuss.'

In the interim, existing PECs are to be retained at PCTs that are not being reconfigured. At new, merged PCTs, new PECs are to be established within the existing framework.

Dr Michael Dixon, NHS Alliance chair, said the decision helped ease worries about the future of clinical engagement within the NHS.

He said: 'Without powerful leadership from practising clinicians, integrated within the structure of the new PCTs, NHS reforms risk fragmentation of services and will fail to deliver any real change or benefits.'

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