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Health: Directed Enhanced Services

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 8 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What measures they propose to put in place to avoid variation in service provision across primary care trust areas once they are in charge of commissioning directed enhanced services. [HL5329]

Primary care trusts (PCTs) have always been in charge of commissioning directed enhanced services. Directed enhanced services are underpinned by national directions from the Secretary of State to PCTs. These directions instruct PCTs to commission services to a national specification and standards.

This year the department launched a national commissioning assurance system to hold PCTs to account for their commissioning decisions. PCTs will be assessed by the improvement in local health outcomes, commissioning competencies and organisational governance. The system will allow a clearer national picture of variation in services to emerge. Incentives will be applied to drive all PCTs towards world class levels of commissioning and poorly performing PCTs will be supported to improve, and will ultimately be subject to interventions in line with the NHS performance regime.