Bare-bones PCTs failing to support GPs

LMCs warn that key managers leaving posts at PCTs are creating a vacuum and causing chaos.

Dr Jane Lothian: local PCTs are providing 'some support' to GPs, but 'not nearly as much as would be ideal'.
Dr Jane Lothian: local PCTs are providing 'some support' to GPs, but 'not nearly as much as would be ideal'.

PCT clustering and NHS management redundancies are causing chaos locally as commissioning and GP support services begin to falter, GP leaders have warned.

Northumberland LMC secretary Dr Jane Lothian said local PCTs were providing 'some support' to GPs, but 'not nearly as much as would be ideal'.

She said commissioning of mental health services had now 'stopped' because key NHS managers had left.

'We are trying to look at the commissioning of a huge mental health trust covering a vast number of embryonic consortia,' she said. 'You feel a sensible thing to do is re-create what was there before, but that defeats the purpose of the reforms.'

Birmingham LMC chairman Dr Robert Morley said the cluster arrangements in his area had meant PCTs were 'haemorrhaging staff', leaving a 'senior management vacuum'.

He said PCTs locally were struggling with commissioning and coping with increasing demand on services at the same time as making cuts.

'A lot of this would have happened anyway because of the financial situation, but it's going on against a backdrop of PCT meltdown,' he said.

'The infrastructure is falling apart. Everything is being dismantled before the Health Bill has even been passed.'

Meanwhile, Cleveland LMC secretary Dr John Canning said although the PCTs in his area had been clustering for some time, recently a 'lot of staff are moving around'.

'There is instability of jobs and a loss of corporate memory. GPs don't know who to contact,' he said. 'The IT support system particularly seems to have a significant inability to support practices with any sort of rapid response.'

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