PCTs rapped over PBC by Audit Commission

The NHS needs improvements to its financial management before practice-based commissioning (PBC) can work effectively, according to the Audit Commission.

Dr Michael Dixon
In a report into the progress of PBC published today, the watchdog identifies several steps that few PCTs had managed to implement. 

These include regular and accurate information for GPs to monitor PBC progress including budgets, and freedom and support for practices to create new services.

Steve Bundred, chief executive of the Audit Commission, said: ‘PBC won’t take off unless the NHS gets the financial infrastructure right.’

Dr Michael Dixon, NHS Alliance chairman, said: ‘PCT and practice commissioners have been blinded by a lack of timely, usable information – and straitjacketed by national targets, not least reducing inherited deficits.

‘On top of that, they’ve been spun around in circles in the name of re-organisation. Did anyone really expect PBC to work in that environment?’

He added that PBC had the potential to transform the NHS provided the Audit Commission’s recommendations were followed.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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