Take-up of practice based commissioning ranges from 0 to 80 per cent around the country, despite evidence of the policy’s success in shifting services out of hospital.
The Department of Health produced figures this week showing three former strategic health authority areas – Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Kent and Medway, and Somerset and Dorset – had no practices taking up the policy as of May 2006.
By contrast, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, South East London and South West London had over 70 per cent take-up rates. The national average was 41 per cent.
In a report this week, the NHS Alliance, which represnts practices and primary care trusts, cited a number of examples of how practice-based commissioning had cut referrals to acute hospitals, often releasing resources in the process.
However, the report said there were significant barriers to implementation, including the impact of deficits and restructuring on PCTs’ abilities to provide practices with the requisite support.