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General Practitioners

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to ensure that primary care trusts support general practitioners in their review of (a) service redesign and (b) care pathways; and if she will make a statement. (122829)

Primary care trusts (PCTs) support primary care practitioners in reviewing service design and existing care pathways as part of practice based commissioning (PBC). All PCTs had in place arrangements to support PBC by December 2006, providing each practice with an indicative budget, information on activity, and an incentive to become engaged as well as putting in place a governance and accountability framework.

New guidance published on 28 November 2006 sets out further obligations on PCTs to help advance PBC. The document sets out expectations that PCTs will:

develop and offer locally agreed incentives for practices;

address information needs (financial and activity) for practices in line with departmental guidelines and practice preferences;

provide practices with the tools and support they need to effectively discharge their commissioning responsibilities, either directly or through agreed alternative arrangements; and

use a combination of indicators to take a balanced view of practice engagement and the impact of PBC across the health economy.

Strategic health authorities are expected to assure themselves that there is a quality framework in place to support PBC.