Cash injections have not resolved the PCT funding crisis or low morale

Published: 09/05/2002, Volume II2, No. 5804 Page 17

The year 2002 is shaping up to be one that the NHS will want to endure rather than enjoy. Ahead, in 2003 and beyond, the grass seems much greener with new money, a more settled structure and the right staff filling the important positions.

But now the service is suffering growing pains and the latest yelp of discomfort comes from the National Association of Primary Care which is worried that managers, not clinicians, are getting the benefit of reform (see news, page 5). It is doubtful that many primary care trust managers think so. In fact, one complaining to HSJ about his strategic health authority, opined that the problem was that 'everybody distrusts everybody else'. But NAPC does appear genuinely concerned that its expectations of grass-roots control are not being fulfilled.

No doubt NAPC will be treated to tea and sympathy at Number 10, as NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon was recently. But the most useful step the government could take would be to resolve the funding crisis at PCT-level that is seeing the 'new NHS' begin with services being cut. This would make all the PCT doubters, clinicians and managers, a lot less anxious about the future and their part in it.