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Sunderland – running on goodwill

An agreement between PBC clusters and the PCT provides the bedrock for progress in Sunderland - but it's still slow going.

An agreement between PBC clusters and the PCT provides the bedrock for progress in Sunderland - but it's still slow going.



The three PBC clusters in Sunderland have drawn up an agreement with the PCT to encourage good relationships, with commissioners promising to communicate with GP practices and be accountable. In turn, the PCT has pledged to be visible and provide a level playing field, be transparent and support management capacity.

Dr Ian Gilmour, a member of Sunderland PCT PEC and a GP in Sunderland says: ‘The reason for the compact was that we all agreed PBC had been set up to fail. The budgets allocated were based on historic levels of activity uplifted for inflation but developments such as the 18-week target meant hospital activity increased so there was no opportunity to invest in PBC.

‘We are making slow progress – doing as much as we can but struggling by, running on goodwill. We don't have the money to fund the good PBC work we are doing.'

Each of the three Sunderland clusters has a part-time management support lead and IT support.

PBC in Sunderland has managed to make a few savings – tens of thousands of pounds rather than hundreds – on prescribing budgets by working with pharmaceutical advisers. But this too has proved a challenge as prescribing budgets have historically been above the national average because of deprivation, morbidity and mortality in a former mining area with the decline of heavy industry and high COPD prevalence.

Sunderland: Not enough money to fund the good PBC work being done Sunderland: Not enough money to fund the good PBC work being done

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