‘Hard work’ to manage PCT change

HEALTH chiefs said they are working hard to keep the “wheels on the wagon” as the NHS undergoes the most radical change in its 60-year history.

Groups of GPs - called consortia - are due to take over the budget and running of the NHS from PCTs, which will be abolished by 2013.

NHS Calderdale’s board members heard it was proving difficult to keep leadership attention on improving the service while also working on the massive changes planned.

Medical director Matt Walsh said: “We are working hard to do both. I think the whole organisation understands its responsibility to keep the wheels on the wagon in terms of service. It’s hard work but people are together and focused. We’ve got to keep continuing what we are doing, which is reminding ourselves what we are here to do and also understand the pressures that are operating at the moment.”

The board heard PCT staff are being informed of developments as talks continue with Calderdale’s GP commissioning group on how it will run and staff needed.

Sue Ellis, director of HR, said: “People want to know where they fit into the system. At the moment we’re not in a position to say where certain areas do fit into the architecture of the new system. We have to be upfront about that.

“We’ve been offering a number of activities such as career workshops, including interview preparation, should that be a situation they find themselves in.”

The board also agreed to continue work to form a ‘PCT cluster’ with Kirklees and Wakefield - but heard it would involve “risks and tensions” as the three discuss how to work together.

The Government said PCTs should form clusters to ease the passing of decision-making to GP consortia.

A single executive team would run the three PCTs.

Keith Wright, non-executive director, said: “These are absolutely massive changes. There will be a single executive team supporting three PCTs. The devil is in the detail but let’s be under no illusion this is going to be easy. It may be interim but there are going to be risks and tensions.”

Chris Dowse, director of commissioning and transformation, said: “We are working with our partners to look at some scenarios to try and iron out as much of the detail as possible.”

lWill the changes improve the running of our local health service? Email yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk