The NHS Alliance has warmly welcomed Fit for the Future, the Department of Health's (DH) new guidance on the primary care trust (PCT) professional and executive committee (PEC).
The Alliance will now invite all PEC chairs to meetings to be held in each strategic health authority (SHA) region to consider implantation of the guidance. The first of these, for London PEC chairs, will be held on 3 May 2007.
The guidance closely echoes the results of the NHS Alliance consultation, "Fit to Lead", carried out on behalf of the DH late last year. The Alliance is particularly pleased to see the emphasis on clinical leadership running throughout the health service, as well as unambiguous advice to SHAs and a firm commitment from the DH itself to support the "three at the centre".
Dr Peter Reader, the NHS Alliance principal author of "Fit to Lead", said: "There are two significant changes that will, we hope, result in effective partnership between clinical leaders and NHS management.
"For the first time, we are seeing advice to SHAs that they should include PEC chairs in their meetings with PCTs. The conventional practice has too often been to exclude clinicians.
"The DH has also acknowledged the need for personal development in clinical leadership and for clinical leaders. That is a welcome step forward.
"We must now make sure the spirit of this document is implemented in practice. There have been positive words in the past, but SHA and PCT senior managers who were less than enthusiastic were able to sideline PECs. That must not happen again."