NHS London is to pay pathfinder commissioning consortia £1.66 per registered patient to support their development.

The strategic health authority has launched its own consortia development programme, which will “align” with the national pathfinder programme.

The SHA programme will offer development support to individual consortia leaders, leadership teams and on organisational development as a whole during the pathfinder phase and, later, during the authorisation process to become a statutory body. 

As part of this, the SHA will from April 2011 offer pathfinder consortia £1.66 per year per registered patient in their consortium – equivalent to £500,000 for a consortium with 300,000 patients.

The funding, which is intended for consortia development rather than support for actual commissioning, will be held and distributed by local PCT cluster chief executives. Consortia will either be able to draw it as cash or as people, by taking on PCT staff for a maximum of one year.

The SHA, which met with representatives from 100 potential pathfinder consortia on 10 November, hopes to free up the funding for the programme by saving £178m across its PCTs by April 2011 – a year earlier than planned.

As hsj.co.uk revealed last week, NHS London has begun alerting hundreds of staff internally and across the capital’s 31 primary care trusts that they face redundancy.

An NHS London spokesman said: “By making our management cost savings a year early, we will be able to bring together the commissioning skills of staff within PCTs where it is needed and create a fund for developing GP consortia.

“Funding would be available to consortia that apply for pathfinder status and will be managed carefully to ensure GP consortia develop in order to achieve good quality patient care in London.”