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GPs to get US commissioning masterclasses

Health management organisation offers support for GPs and managers

Mark Gould

Monday, 26 November 2007

GPs are to be offered lessons in practice based commissioning from a United States health management organisation in a collaboration that is part-funded by the Department of Health. The NHS Alliance and Humana Europe have come together to establish the PBC Academy to provide support for GPs, practice managers and commissioning managers in primary care trusts.

The Academy complements the Department of Health's Health Advanced Commissioning Course. Humana Europe is a subsidiary of Humana Inc a "health benefits company" with more than 11 million members and 22,000 employees based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Last week an Audit Commission report found that practice based commissioning, launched last year to give GPs more freedom and financial clout to develop locally tailored services, is struggling due to a number of factors including recent PCT mergers, lack of management support and motivation.

The programme offers short, practical training in professional commissioning skills via 11 modules, with local half day learning events for each, plus additional on-line help.

The modules range from understanding and using data to commissioning emergency care. They have been designed by people with active experience in primary care commissioning as well as up to date academic expertise.

NHS Alliance education lead Professor Ruth Chambers said: “The PBC Academy programme is short, practical and down to earth. It delivers just-in-time learning.

“Busy clinicians and frontline managers can’t afford to spend time on something they needed to know last week, nor on something they don’t need to know until next month.

“We are confident this programme will give practice based commissioners the skills and knowledge they need to commission effectively.”

The programme is supported by the Department of Health, the West Midlands Workforce Deanery and the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority. Initially it will be piloted in these two SHA areas. It is designed to complement the more academic Advanced Commissioning Course. More information is available at PBC Academy.

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