All PCTs able to employ firms to advise on commissioning

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

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

Only five PCTs have so far been involved in FESC pilots. But in a speech to the PCT Network conference yesterday, 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 also used the speech to reach out to GPs.‘We simply cannot return to a situation where GPs were effectively responsible for their patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,' he said. ‘They were also, I believe, seriously underpaid.'

But he defended his attacks on the GPC. ‘I speak as an ex-trade unionist. Sometimes you can talk to an organisation and not get a true sense of how its members are feeling.' 

Fourteen companies are approved providers under FESC.

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