HSJ webcast - white paper major challenge for PCT management
Senior managers at primary care trusts are facing the tough challenge of managing major change while dealing with staff who have been publicly criticised, Ealing PCT chief executive Robert Creighton said on HSJ’s webcast on the government’s white paper.
Mr Creighton said: “Staff have been told quite publicly that the job they have done is inadequate, inappropriate, sometimes very poor, and [PCTs are] going to have to be replaced.
“Their jobs are at risk and it is a very, very challenging time for me, my directors, my board, the non-executives, and my GP colleagues, many of whom work very closely with us and don’t share the view that what we have done is not as good as it should be.”
“That does not get anywhere near them understanding the responsibilities of decision making, and understanding risk and all the things that I get paid for by being a responsible officer,” he said.
“It can be a scary place when you don’t know where you’ll be at the end of the year and you will be held accountable for that.
“I can’t believe there are enormous numbers of GPs who want to do that because it is the right thing to do. There need to be incentives to get GPs to come forward to take these difficult roles and no one seems to have thought these through.”
Royal College of GPs president Steve Field said in many areas GPs had been pushed out of decision making by PCTs, and he said he was confident that GPs had the skills to manage commissioning consortia with the right support.
Katherine Ward, chief executive of United Health UK, said GPs were well placed to see efficiencies at a local level, and she said private providers would be able to supply IT and data analysis support, particularly to help GPs understand the valuable data they held at a population level.
Speaking on the NHS Local website, Sue Davis, chair of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, described the government’s white paper as a “risky step” which could lead to an impasse in major health service decisions.
She said the transition period represented “an enormous period of danger for health services”.
“I think there is an anxiety across the provider network, across the NHS as a whole, that this level of change, and these are very radical changes, will lead to a long period of uncertainty and a period in which no major decisions about new services are made and at a time when we all need to be focused on improving quality and driving down costs.
“I do think that that is a severe risk and one we all need to be guarding against.”