We read with interest your 'in brief ' news item (page 4, 18 October) regarding the need to strengthen the management and leadership capacity in primary care trusts. In a study in East Riding and Hull health authority area we found similar issues.
Having interviewed GP members of primary care groups at the time of their transition to trusts, we found that GPs felt they needed significant training and support in management issues if they were to operate as effective board members. Few had previous management experience, and only 38 per cent felt they had had a formal induction into their role. GPs perceived that key areas for development were organisational skills, media liaison, appraisal, report writing and progress monitoring. We also found a tendency to view issues from a practice-level perspective and we felt that a broader PCG/T population perspective needed to be encouraged if strategic plans for the whole PCT area were to be effectively implemented and monitored.
However, given the limited training offered to GPs before joining PCG boards, it was encouraging to see the progress made in preparing for the transition to PCT status. The will is there to develop management expertise in the PCTs. What is now needed is training and support to maximise the potential.
Dr Martin J McAreavey Specialist registrar in public health Dr Wendy Richardson Clinical policy project manager Dr Rajan Madhok Director of health policy and public health East Riding and Hull health authority