PCT may seek private commissioning help

A north-west London PCT with the highest deficit in England for 2006/7 is to tender for commissioning support, potentially from the private sector.

Last week the DoH published its Framework for Procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC), enabling private companies to bid to carry out non-medical work.

Hillingdon PCT, which recorded a deficit of £52 million in 2006/7, announced it would press ahead with a tendering process under the FESC imminently.

The move, which is designed to plug gaps in PCT commissioning expertise, has had a cautious welcome from Hillingdon LMC.

LMC chairman Dr Mitch Garsin said: 'We're supporting the FESC in Hillingdon because it's on a very small scale. Companies will take over performance management and contract management. This is not privatisation. Commissioning has been a problem in the past.

'But if a PCT wanted to hand all its commissioning powers to the private sector under the FESC it would have to be looked at very carefully because private companies could turn provider and commissioner.'

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