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PCTs 'not capable' of implementing Lord Darzi's NHS Next Stage Review

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Many Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are not capable of implementing Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review of the NHS, according to an influential committee of MPs.

The Commons health select committee warned in a report that PCTs are not yet capable of carrying out Lord Darzi’s NHS reforms.

According to the report, they lack the analytical and planning skills necessary to manage the shift of services from acute to primary care trusts.

The variable management quality in PCTs is ‘striking and depressing’, the report said.

Poor commissioning and the failure of successive reforms to enhance it means the process implementing Lord Darzi’s plans will be slow and uneven, the report said.

The committee was also not convinced by proposals by the Department of Health that all PCTs should have a GP-led health centre and recommends that their creation should be decided locally on a case-by-case basis.

Committee chair Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley, said: ‘Lord Darzi's reforms must not just be the latest in a series of failures to make real change; the blueprint for effective reform is there, but the Department must listen and respond to the concerns and challenges highlighted in our report.’

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘This report serves as a strong reminder that quality of care can only be improved by continued investment and strong local leadership. In order to deliver high quality care for all, funding must be maintained through the economic downturn, and the government must ensure that frontline patient services benefit first and foremost from this investment.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • My response is from the Institute of Commissioning Professionals who are dedicated to raising commissioning standards and acting as the voice of commissioners.
    It doesnt surprise us that comments about commissioning standards are being made. Nearly two years ago we made representations to DH and DCSF regarding the state of commissioning and offered to help. Our survey of commissioners showed that there were a number of barriers to successful commissioning, not least that there are few people trained in this area.
    We believe that commissioning is demonstrating its own signs of market failure and that these need to be rectified before these reforms will work. Either that or their failure will discredit commissioning.

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