'Political football' danger for PCTs

PCTs could become 'political footballs' if plans to hold local elections to appoint their senior management go ahead, GP leaders have warned.

GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey
GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey

A senior Labour Party figure and former health minister bidding to become deputy leader of the party has included the plan in her manifesto.

Salford MP Hazel Blears, currently Labour Party chairwoman, has criticised PCTs' lack of democratic accountability and called for ‘an element of local representation'.

'PCTs have a huge say over our lives, yet we have no direct say over them. We should introduce an element of direct representation on PCTs with local elections to their boards,' her manifesto says.

Her plans follow a poll for Ernst & Young last November that found almost 70 per cent of people back directly elected local health commissioners.

GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey said that the GPC does not have a formal position on direct PCT elections.

But he said: 'I'd want to avoid PCTs becoming pseudo-local councils with party affiliations.'

'We want to avoid health being a political football and local politicians following the pattern of national politicians.'

There was a risk health could end up no longer being the main priority, Dr Vautrey warned.

What do you think? Comment below or email healthcare.republic@haymarket.com

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