New PECs given more power on practice-based commissioning

Clinicians on the reformed professional executive committees (PECs) should have greater control over local NHS priorities, policies and investment plans, according to the DoH.

New guidance for PECs, issued today by health minister Andy Burnham, advises that all PEC members should be appointed on the basis of their skills, competencies, and ability to lead. Clinicians must also be in the majority on the committees.

SHAs will oversee the new arrangements to ensure that PCTs are effectively engaging their clinicians and using their PECs to design and deliver local services. PCTs are expected to implement the new guidance by 1 October. 

Health minister Andy Burnham said: ‘Today's guidance will re-establish and reinvigorate PECs, giving clinicians from a multi-professional background a greater say on local NHS decisions.

‘Whitehall will do less dictating on what these committees will look like. PCTs will be free to decide how many members they need to have and the NHS will be able to bring in extra members to tackle specific challenges.

‘With the introduction of practice based commissioning and the delegation of budgets, there needs to be a stronger emphasis on commissioning. Strong professional executive committees can play a vital role in providing the effective managerial and clinical leadership needed.’

Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, said: ‘This new guidance ensures clinicians are at the centre of all major decisions in PCTs. Most importantly, this guidance will reassure PEC clinicians that their role and input is valued and essential. It will also encourage frontline clinicians to support the PEC and their PCT. That is particularly important for the success of practice based commissioning.’

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