The Department of Health will publish a “road map” for the abolition of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities before Christmas, NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has said. He warned there will be no “slow down” in the process.

Speaking at the NHS medical directors summit last week Sir David said the NHS operating framework for 2011-12 would describe “staging posts” between the present arrangement of around 150 PCTs and their total abolition.

DH plans published last month said SHAs would be abolished in April 2012 and PCTs a year later, but there had been speculation that Sir David would prefer a slower or less strict timetable.

However, Sir David said: “There is a lot of talk about pace and that it [abolition] should somehow be slowed down. I think it is unlikely we will be able to slow it down.”

He said that since the abolition had been announced, the process, inevitably, had taken a “life of its own”.

“If anything it needs to be speeded up rather than slowed down,” he said. “It is quite a long time.”

He said the DH would now set out “staging posts” as part of the operating framework in December to show what has planned for organisations on a “quarter by quarter” basis between now and 2013, partly so staff could “see what they can do” in coming years.