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GPs don’t want to inherit PCT managers for new consortia

GPs fear that NHS employment terms will deny them ability to appoint on merit

Caroline White

Monday, 06 September 2010

GPs strongly oppose the idea of PCT managers automatically being granted the right to walk into similar posts in the new consortia, reveals a poll published last week.

The poll, which was carried out by NHS ideas and problem solving hub, NHS Networks, canvassed the views of 257 PCT and strategic health authority managers, GPs, and practice based commissioning managers on the legal entitlement of PCT managers to transfer to similar roles under the new regime.

Over half of respondents (53%) voted against the idea; 42% were in favour and 6% were undecided.

But GPs and PBC managers were overwhelmingly against the idea of inheriting PCT managers en masse, with eight out of 10 of those canvassed giving the thumbs down to the idea.

Some GPs questioned the quality of PCT managers. Most said they would consider employing them in new roles, but only if they were able to appoint on merit.

More than one in three PCT and SHA staff (37%) also rejected the idea of an automatic right to a job in GP consortia.

NHS Networks reports that some PCT managers are under the impression that Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE), or similar arrangements will give them a legal right to move to similar posts. 

But HR experts have warned this would depend on which statutory functions now performed by PCTs transfer to GP commissioning consortia.

NHS Employers said last week that chief executive of the East of England Strategic Health Authority Neil McKay was heading up plans to draw up a new HR framework for the new regime.

But a letter sent to SHAs and arms length bodies announcing the plans, advised that it was not yet known whether TUPE would apply to any transfer of functions.

But a separate survey for the Network shows that GPs will need help from experienced managers.

Over 90% of GPs agreed with the proposition that “good” managers would get jobs in the emerging commissioning consortia. But only 60% of PCT manager reckoned that this would qualify them for a job.

One GP respondent said: “As clinicians we have predominantly been involved in demand management and service redesign. All the other components are new to the majority of us.

He continued: “We need the skills in PCTs if we are to take responsibility for the whole commissioning cycle. We also need the organisational memory, particularly around procurement and contracts. It is essential that these skills are transferred into consortia.”

Julian Patterson, development director of NHS Networks said: “There is a fear of reinventing the same old institutions, but the emerging GP consortia have the opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

He continued: “It stands to reason that the best managers, who have already formed good working relationships with GPs and continue to work with them through the transition, will have the best job prospects.”


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