The Primary Care Trust Network has urged the Department of Health to quickly sort out which PCT statutory functions can be stopped in order to reduce pressure on managers during the transition to GP consortia.
A comprehensive list of statutory and non-statutory functions has been drawn up jointly by the network and the DH, which was distributed to PCTs at the end of last week to aid discussions over the future transfer of commissioning powers to GP consortia. It includes nearly 300 PCT functions, duties and powers.
Publication of the list follows health secretary Andrew Lansley’s letter to GPs two weeks ago outlining extra detail on the white paper proposals, which included notification that while some PCT functions would be transferred to consortia or local authorities, some would be stopped altogether.
He said: “If some functions are no longer necessary when the white paper is implemented, then they must be no longer necessary now.
“[Stopping them now] would help PCTs to remain viable with the reduced management resources they will have over the next two years.”
However Mr Stout said the straightforward list of function sent to PCTs was not an attempt to suggest who should take responsibility for what but to provide a template for early discussions on setting up consortia.
NHS Alliance clinical commissioning federation director Julie Wood said establishing which of the functions should go where and which were “grey areas” would be complex.
She said: “It’s a long list. We need to work out what obviously needs to go to the NHS commissioning board, what obviously goes to local authorities, what obviously goes to consortia and what’s left in the middle.”
Ms Wood also noted it was not always obvious what some of the functions involved, for example to “protect the reputation of the NHS”.