Help PCGs more, says Denham

2 Mar 00
Health minister John Denham has called on health authorities to give greater support to primary care groups (PCGs) after a Department of Health survey showed wide variations in the amount of money passed on to the new commissioning bodies.

03 March 2000

In a letter to English health authority chairs this week, Denham said PCGs and primary care trusts were crucial to the government's plans to make the NHS more efficient. Yet there were wide variations in the cash health authorities allocated to support administrative costs. Management budgets allocated to PCGs ranged from £1.51 per head to £7.10 per head.

The development of some PCGs has stalled because they have been unable to hire administrative staff. This could not be allowed to continue, he said.

'PCG trusts cannot succeed if they are not adequately resourced. For 2000/01 a number of health authorities will need to release a greater proportion of the local management cost envelope to their PCGTs,' he added.

The department is concerned about the equity of other funds handed out by authorities. Some PCGs are being allocated less cash than they are due, reducing their capacity to buy care for their patients.

Only 35% of PCGs are within 2% of their target cash allocation, as calculated by the department's weighted capitation allocation formula.

Health authorities are concerned that some areas would suffer huge cuts if they give PCGs their target allocations too quickly. The department recognises that this has to be a gradual process, but there is a feeling that some authorities are dragging their feet on management costs and general allocations.


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