Primary Health Care

Health written question – answered on 29th February 2012.

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Photo of Nick Brown Nick Brown Labour, Newcastle upon Tyne East

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the likely proportion of primary health care commissioning being undertaken by (a) public sector employees directly employed by the state and (b) private sector employees under contract to primary health care commissioners for the year 2015-16; and what estimate he has made of future trends in this area.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

No such estimate has been made.

Subject to the passage of legislation, the commissioning of primary care services will be the responsibility of the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) from April 2013. The NHSCB Authority, established on 31 October 2011, is leading the preparatory work for the NHSCB and developing proposals for how its functions could be discharged, including those for primary care commissioning and primary care support services such as general practitioner payments and patient registration (often known as FHS services).

In documents published for its board meeting on 2 February the NHSCB Authority was clear that staff in the 50 local offices of the NHSCB will include those involved in primary care commissioning. The cost of FHS services will also be the responsibility of these local office teams.

At the moment primary care trusts discharge FHS services through a number of different models which include in-house arrangements and outsourcing—both within and outside of the national health service.

The precise arrangements as to how these functions will be discharged in the future to secure high quality primary care services will, be for the NHSCB to determine. However they are discharged, the NHSCB will remain accountable for all commissioning decisions.

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