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I issued the following press release on 17.05.2006

Lynne Jones has made the following statement regarding today’s announcement on the organisation of PCTs in Birmingham:

Today’s announcement that there will be a reduction in the number of PCTs in Birmingham from four to three gets it wrong again.

NHS organisation in Birmingham has been going round in circles for years and years.  We had a Birmingham Health Authority (Teaching) with five district management teams, then four health authorities going down to three and finally we fixed on the logical arrangement of one Health Authority for the whole City.  In 2001, the Labour Government should have retained this position.  We could have achieved our aim of more local influence by capitalising on bottom up developments in GP commissioning.  Groups of GPs, who largely rejected the Tory Government’s fundholding arrangements, were working together to plan for better services for their patients.

In 2001, in opposing the setting up of four PCTs, which the majority of GPs also opposed, I predicted the inevitability of the current reorganisation to three PCTs because the driving force has always been with hospitals not community-based services.  The new configuration will not achieve the Government’s stated aims of co-terminocity within local authority services because Birmingham City Council decentralises services to districts based on new constituency boundaries (as are local strategic partnerships).  As a result of today’s flawed decision it is inevitable that Birmingham’s Health Services will at some time in the future face further reorganisation back to the only rational body – one PCT for the whole of Birmingham.  Re-discovery of GP commissioning and the setting up of consortia of GP practices which has now begun in earnest make such an arrangement all the more logical.

Birmingham people identify with their own neighbourhood and with the City and not with areas based on points of the compass.  It is on this reality that the organisation of our health services should be based.


For Lynne Jones' response to the consultation COMMISSIONING A PATIENT-LED NHS please click here


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