PCTs: From being “champions for patients” to being abolished – in just two months

Yesterday's announcement that all 302 Primary Care Trusts in England will be abolished by 2013 with more power given to GPs represents a complete about-turn from the Coalition Agreement of less than two months ago.

Yesterday’s announcement that all 302 152 Primary Care Trusts in England will be abolished by 2013 with more power given to GPs represents a complete about-turn from the Coalition Agreement of less than two months ago, which promised directly elected patient representatives on PCT boards and pledged that local PCTs “will act as a champion for patients”, commissioning services best undertaken at a wider level “rather than directly by GPs”.

The agreement, pages 24-25, clearly states:

We will ensure that there is a stronger voice for patients locally through directly elected individuals on the boards of their local primary care trust (PCT).

The remainder of the PCT’s board will be appointed by the relevant local authority or authorities, and the Chief Executive and principal officers will be appointed by the Secretary of State on the advice of the new independent NHS board. This will ensure the right balance between locally accountable individuals and technical expertise.

The local PCT will act as a champion for patients and commission those residual services that are best undertaken at a wider level, rather than directly by GPs.

It will also take responsibility for improving public health for people in their area, working closely with the local authority.

At no point does it mention their abolition, but quite the opposite, namely that PCTs would be stregthened and democartised. Now, they are in fact going to be split up between councils and GPs – yet even the supposed accountability to local councils isn’t fully democratic, as they will also be answerable to a national body.

Earlier today, Left Foot Forward looked in detail at the health secretary’s white paper, highlighting one of the most fundamental problems the plans will encounter – that most GPs do not want the hassle of strategic planning, negotiating multi-million pound budgets and making unpopular decisions about NHS service organisation and costs – and asking whether the white paper marks the beginning of the end of the NHS.

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27 Responses to “PCTs: From being “champions for patients” to being abolished – in just two months”

  1. Mike

    You have to hand it to the Tories.
    First they secure the support of the Liberal Democrats for their right wing cuts and privatisation agenda
    then they secure GP’s to ration health care and privatise the NHS

    Burstow (Lib Dem Health Minister)is so in awe of the Tories that he said local authorities could carry out commissioning – not a hope

    Does he not understand that private health care companies and big business are already using the word de nationalisation of the NHS.

    Private health insurance companies will offer to do the commisioning for free to secure access to patients

    These GP consortia will end up employing Gps just like American Health Maintance Organisations (HMOs)

    The bottom line is GPs will be rationing care

  2. Mr. Sensible

    Oh yes, I’d forgotten that.

  3. Sean

    So it falls to the Liberal Democrats to privatise the NHS

    hope they choke

  4. Anon E Mouse

    Scrapping PCT’s – Thank god for that. Not before time. My elder daughter works for a dental practice with over 75% NHS patients and she said it couldn’t come soon enough.

    This government gets better and better by the day. Imagine the idea that the care providers are trusted to care for their patients in their way!

    Great news – I’m voting Lib Dem next time…

  5. Jill

    strange as Lib Dems wanted PCTs should be the central plank of the NHS ?? and democratically elected

    so scrapping it is a Tory victory

    so vote for the Tories as you did last time

    By the way didnt the Tories Privatisatise Dental Services

    that worked well

    few NHS dentists

    and very rich dentists
    and low paid dental nurses

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