PCT to be abolished in radical NHS shake-up

THE biggest shake-up of the NHS in decades has been welcomed by the region’s health bodies – despite the plans signalling their demise.

The Government yesterday announced the changes to the NHS which it says will give patients and doctors a bigger role in health services.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) will be abolished along with strategic health authorities (SHAs) meaning the end of NHS Suffolk and NHS East of England and the loss of hundreds of jobs.

GPs will be joining forces to deliver treatment directly under a reform blueprint published by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

They will given the task of controlling a share of around �70billion of taxpayers’ money currently handled by PCTs and SHAs.

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An independent NHS Commissioning Board will oversee the new regime, with local councils taking over the public health element of PCTs’ work.

Under plans set out in a White Paper, the Government also promised to scrap “top-down” targets in favour of a regime based on clinical outcomes.

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And patients will be handed more choice over how and where they are treated.

Mr Lansley said the new structure would “put patients right at the heart of decisions made about their care (and) put clinicians in the driving seat on decisions about services.”

Under the new model, consortia of GPs in England will be directly responsible for commissioning the “great majority” of NHS services for their patients.

Specialist commissioning will be carried out by the new board, which will also distribute funds to the consortia, which the Government wants to have in place by next year.

The document warned that NHS job losses were “inevitable” but said it was vital to switch cash from bureaucracy into frontline services.

Mr Lansley said that all NHS trusts would become Foundation Trusts, giving more freedom from Whitehall control.

NHS Suffolk and NHS East of England have both welcomed the drastic shake-up which will see their demise. At NHS Suffolk 220 jobs will be at risk with hundreds more facing the axe at NHS East of England.

Carole Taylor-Brown, chief executive of NHS Suffolk, said the changes would improve services, strengthening the voice of the people in Suffolk.

While accepting the inevitable loss of jobs many of her staff are facing she said there will be opportunities for people to support the new work of the GP consortia.

She said: “These are tremendously trying times for every citizen as we all work towards the common goal to balance the national books whilst protecting vital frontline services like the NHS.

“We welcome the changes introduced in the White Paper as they will improve services and increase the influence of local people and clinicians in their NHS.

“It strengthens the voice and role of Suffolk people and GPs to do what’s right for people in the county and puts the right emphasis on clinical outcomes rather than process targets.

“Obviously there will be changes for NHS Suffolk staff and whilst there will be some reductions in jobs there will also be opportunities for the skills and experience of our staff to support the work of the GP consortia in the new arrangements.”

An NHS East of England spokeswoman said the organisation “fully supported” the proposals for more patient control over the NHS and their own care.

She said it will be working with all NHS organisations in East Anglia to ensure the Government’s vision to empower GPs and local people is realised. “We will also empower our own staff to take forward these reforms and bring lasting and effective change to the NHS,” the spokeswoman added.

“At the same time as preparing the NHS for this change we will continue to ensure the delivery of the services that people rely on and the reductions in management costs outlined in the White Paper.

“This is a challenging agenda, but we are ready for it and look forward to helping deliver it.”


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