Practice-based commissioning (PBC) will fail without a clear action plan, says the PBC Federation, part of the NHS Alliance, which today (17 July 2008) set out its own vision for the future of PBC at their first "post-Darzi" national conference.
The PBC Federation argues that PBC clusters are at the NHS frontline, are in touch with patients and PCTs, and are aware of population needs. As such, it says, these clusters should be the leaders of service redesign and must be empowered to take control of financial resources.
The Federation therefore announced that it welcomed proposals in Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review that PBC groups would be entitled to "improved information and management and financial support", and its promise of increased autonomy for mature PBC groups that have demonstrated their ability to take on further responsibility.
PBC Federation Joint Lead Dr David Jenner (pictured), a GP and member of the NHS Alliance national executive, said: "PBC has been hamstrung by inadequate, late and often inaccurate management support and information.
"It has been like Marks and Spencer not knowing what their suppliers were delivering nor how much it costs. No one can operate effectively in that situation.
He added: "That is why we are particularly pleased that Lord Darzi has promised this longstanding problem will be put right."
"Now we also need to make sure strategic health authorities are fully behind PBC. They can make or break it – but without input from primary care clinicians, they could too easily achieve the latter while aiming for the former.
"PBC depends on genuine collaboration between clinicians and managers, not just at the PCT level, but in SHAs too."