The DoH says its ‘Right to Request’ scheme aims to put PCT staff ‘in the driving seat’ of projects to transform patient care by allowing them to set up as social enterprises.
A DoH spokeswoman said that while the scheme was primarily aimed at clinical staff, it would accept applications from PCT managers that wanted, for example, to set up social enterprises to offer support services to GP consortia.
It comes as PCT leaders have said that a number of managers are looking to set up consultancy businesses to provide GP commissioning support to consortia.
Talking at a King’s Fund event last month, Yi Mien Koh, chief executive of Hillingdon PCT, north west London, said a lot of PCTs are thinking about becoming consultancy firms to support consortia in GP commissioning.
David Stout, director of the NHS Confederation’s PCT Network, also said while many PCT managers were having discussions about this, he was unsure if any had made any firm proposals yet.
But he also urged managers to understand what kind of support GPs in their area would want in commissioning.
Meanwhile, Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, said allowing managers to set up social enterprises would mean redundancies and instability in the NHS could be avoided.
The DoH spokeswoman said, however, that the rules for non-clinical staff ‘are slightly different’.
She said: ‘Under the ‘Right to Request’ scheme for clinical services, staff get an uncontested contract for up to five years. ‘But if they are looking to provide non-clinical services they don’t get an uncontested contract, they have to negotiate contract directly with whoever they are looking to supply services or support to.’