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General Practitioners

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 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 delivering services to patients in innovative ways; and if she will make a statement. (122740)

Practice-based gives primary care professionals an opportunity to engage in commissioning and redesign services to better meet patients’ needs. PBC gives general practitioners more responsibility for local health budgets. This acts as a driver for more responsive and innovative models of joined-up support within communities, delivering better health outcomes and well-being, including a focus on prevention.

All primary care trusts (PCTs) had arrangements in place to support general practitioners in commissioning and delivering services as part of PBC by December 2006, providing each practice with an indicative budget, information on activity and an incentive to become engaged. PCTs are expected to support practices that are innovative and entrepreneurial, working with them to redesign clinical pathways and secure the services that are needed locally.

New guidance published on 28 November 2006 sets out further obligations on PCTs to help advance PBC. Strategic health authorities are expected to assure themselves that there is a quality framework to support PBC.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the briefing paper issued in 2006 by her Department entitled “An assessment of the clinical effectiveness, cost and viability of NHS General Practitioners with Special Interest (GPSI) services” in relation to the efficacy of moving clinical services from district general hospitals to GP surgeries. (122769)

None yet. The commitment to offer more national health service services closer to people’s homes was announced in the White Paper “Our Health, our care, our say”, which was published in January 2006. Subsequently, in February 2006 we launched the “Care Closer to Home” demonstration project to support delivery of the White Paper commitment. The research paper was published some months later and we will take it into account in evaluating the demonstration project.