Firms 'can advise all PCTs on PBC'

PCTs struggling with commissioning services can now call in companies such as Humana or United Health, thanks to an expansion of the DoH's Frame-work for External Support for Commissioners (FESC).

Only five PCTs have so far been involved in FESC pilots. But in a speech to the NHS Confederation's PCT Network conference in London last week, health secretary Alan Johnson announced that the framework would be opened up to all PCTs.

FESC 'can help PCTs to develop their capacity and skills to commission more effectively', he added.

Mr Johnson used the speech to reach out to GPs. He said the government was not punishing them over the contract.

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