A new national property company is to be set up by the government to manage the primary care trust estate, HSJ understands.
A number of primary care trusts which imposed tight restrictions on infertility treatment have now reversed the policy.
The health secretary is to announce a “ban” on primary care trusts setting minimum waiting times for procedures, with the threat of “removing the chair of the PCT” if it is broken.
Scores of GP practices in deprived areas are consistently failing to demonstrate clinical quality under a national incentive scheme, analysis by HSJ has found.
Clinical commissioning groups are being warned they could be “wiped out” by legal challenges made by providers or resulting from service reconfigurations, treatment decisions and contract awards.
One in seven emerging clinical commissioning groups could be asked to reform because they are too small, HSJ research suggests.
Primary care trusts have overseen improvement and were further “maturing” before their abolition was announced, an NHS Confederation report says.
Primary care trusts are clustering into 52 commissioners across England – ranging from a £4.7bn giant to an £800m standalone PCT.
Commissioners accused of breaking competition rules were either abiding by guidance or justified by an obligation to “maximise benefits to patients and taxpayers”, according to the Primary Care Trust Network.
Figures revealing outpatient appointments are set to rise by just 1 per cent this year are being hailed as proof that commissioners have finally curtailed spiralling referrals.
A quarter of primary care trusts are racing ahead to hand over commissioning budgets while a third have no clear plans to “let go”.
Twenty-five primary care trusts have overspent their 2010-11 budgets by a total of £145m so far this financial year, an HSJ investigation has found.
Commissioners face having to redraw their budgets after changes to emergency readmission policy.
Primary care trusts should be allowed to give up responsibility for maintaining lists of all GPs working in their area, as well as a range of other duties, as soon as possible, according to the Primary Care Trust Network.
Treatment restrictions such as bans on “low priority” procedures or tough referral thresholds are now common across the NHS, HSJ has established.
The PCT Network has called on the Department of Health to reduce the “central direction” of primary care trusts to a minimum in the operating framework.
Commissioners have been given the freedom to impose smaller penalties on trusts which breach rules on mixed sex accommodation, but told they have “no excuse” not to impose the fines.
Department of Health commissioning lead Dame Barbara Hakin has said commissioning consortia should outsource many of the responsibilities inherited from primary care trusts.
A minister and senior Department of Health official both hinted that strategic health authority surpluses will be used to ensure commissioning consortia do not start life saddled with primary care trust debts.
NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson’s decision to leave aspirant community foundation trust pay decisions with strategic health authorities could be a barrier to appointments, unions have warned.