If you have any unanswered questions on practice-based commissioning (PBC), want to share your concerns with your peers, or learn more about the issues surrounding it, then log onto the GP MIMS webcasting service next month at www.gponlinewebcasts.com.
GP Dr Stewart Findlay, professional executive committee chairman at Durham Dales PCT, will present the main PBC topics in a live webcast on 8 August.
There will also be an opportunity to take part in a live, interactive question-and-answer session afterwards.
If, on the day, you cannot log on, do not worry, because webcasting allows you to view the programme when it suits you.
Dr Findlay is the PBC lead for Durham Dales PCT and has taken part in DoH roadshows.
During the webcast, he will be talking about issues such as organisational change, the latest guidance, current legislation, budget setting, developing a business plan and why you should get involved.
'PBC has huge potential and if GPs really want to improve care for their patients, they should get involved,' he says.
He says that the benefits of PBC include a greater variety of services from a greater number of providers and a more efficient use of these services, as well as increased involvement of front-line doctors and nurses in commissioning decisions.
'I think that the only people who can really manage resources properly are the people who commit those resources. GPs, through their referrals and prescribing, are already responsible for committing NHS resources,' he says.
He says that, since the end of fundholding, GPs have not really had much of an idea about the consequences of their referrals and prescribing for patients: 'We need to align financial and clinical responsibility, change referral patterns, move care closer to patients in their own community and do things differently.'
Dr Findlay believes that the biggest problem for PBC at the moment is PCT bureaucracy.
'There is inadequate budget information, plus inadequate and late information on PCT activity,' he says. 'The issue of savings is still difficult and the ability to become a provider is often tied up in red tape. This makes it difficult for GPs to make changes.'
'We need to see PCTs completely behind PBC. The budget process needs to be sorted out, preferably before the start of next year, and we need to see proficient systems in place. We also need to see quality come back into trust contracts.'
In the webcast, Dr Findlay discusses practice's PBC responsibilities, such as commissioning against need, managing service delivery and involving clinicians.
'I think that, through time, PBC will become a very attractive option for GPs to get involved in,' says Dr Findlay.
He concludes that the webcast will give GPs the opportunity to see how another PCT is tackling the problem.
'The webcast will offer an interpretation of the legislation from the GP's point of view,' he says.
KEY LEARNING POINTS
By viewing Dr Findlay's webcast on PBC you will:
- Receive best practice advice on PBC.
- Learn about the latest guidance.
- Learn about budget setting and savings.
- Understand the options for PBC group structures, such as setting up a
- Learn about changing commissioning arrangements or becoming a