Practice-based commissioning is running and working well, according to the Department of Health's head of demand side reform.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference, Bob Ricketts said that not only was PBC here to stay, it was the only way to get clinical engagement and provide high-quality healthcare.

'PBC gives professionals the chance to work across the boundaries to redesign healthcare services to meet the need of patients. It is crucial for care closer to home and to improve care for long-term conditions such as diabetes.

'It's here to stay and there really is no alternative but it needs the support of primary care trusts, strategic health authorities and the DoH.'

He gave examples of.West Kent's deep-vein thrombosis service redesign and Manchester gynaecological service as good PbC practice, saying they had had a real impact..