Practical Commissioning's Jargon Buster explains the meaning of the term 'Provider arm'.
In a drive to ensure there is no conflict of interest and competition prevails, PCTs are moving to divorce from their provider functions and become solely commissioning organisations.
So services traditionally provided by PCTs directly to the populations they serve are having to be hived off into a provider arm.
The options for the PCT to create the provider arm range from forming services into a completely separate stand-alone trust through to keeping the provider arm in-house but overseen by a different executive.
In the new leaner financial context however the Government is understood to be concerned about the duplicity these provider arm organisations are creating as they require a separate exec etc to keep commissioning and providing functions apart.
Some commentators are therefore anticipating the Government will announce PCT provider arms have to merge with acute trusts.