But Dame Barbara, the DoH’s director of commissioning development, said the mergers would ‘support the creation of consortia’ and allow PCTs to save money as they disband.
‘The creation of clusters is there to support the creation of clusters. A lot of staff will be working with consortia directly and it means PCT’s core roles can be done with economies of scale.’
‘It’s a transitional arrangement to take us into the new structures,’ she said.
Dame Barbara said many consortia, including those granted ‘pathfinder’ status, will have to change size and structure by the time they are handed statutory powers in 2013.
‘None of these are real consortia yet; not until they are authorised and made statutory bodies in 2013,’ she said.
Dame Barbara said GP contract negotiations with the BMA were ‘going well’ but there was ‘a lot of work to be done’, including consultations, before development of the commissioning outcomes framework or 'quality premium' starts.