WORKFORCE: The primary care trust has agreed to assign nearly 120 members of staff to provide commissioning support for pathfinder GP consortia on its patch.

The staff will be told they will be providing commissioning support through the PCT until March 2012, after which they could move to a consortium, a social enterprise, or a joint venture with the private sector.

A report to NHS Wirral’s 8 February board said all of Wirral’s consortia had now been recognised nationally as pathfinders, and the PCT had met with each of them to describe a “commissioning support offer”.

It continued: “Following the discussions, the consortia have agreed that the PCT should align just under 120 members of staff into the commissioning support offer.

“Staff will be informed that this arrangement will remain in place until at least March 2012 and potentially beyond.”

The staff’s “potential futures” after that date would depend on the needs of the GP consortia, but could include “continued PCT contracts in 2012/13”, “employment by a consortium or consortia from April 2012 or 2013”, a “move to a social enterprise”, or  a “move to joint venture with private sector”.

Separately, the PCT’s public health staff have been told they will remain working for NHS Wirral for 2011/12 and probably 2012/13.

Office services, fraud, IT support, and communications staff, along with primary care contracting and human resources employees, will remain at the PCT in the short term, with “a view taken in the longer term as to where they are best located”.

The report added: “There are some staff who are unlikely to be required to support any of the new destinations in the medium to longer term.” These employees may be, “business critical in the transitional phase but not required in the longer term – e.g. C/E, board support”, it said. They would remain employed by the PCT in the short term with a view “taken about their future roles as clusters are created”.