Paul Corrigan was at an NHS conference last week, during which Andrew Lansley tried to persuade the new Clinical Commissioning Groups to take on staff from the existing Primary Care Trusts. That’s odd, thought Paul, because a year ago these people were useless bureaucrats but now, suddenly, they are people with essential skills and relationships. Then the penny dropped:
He desperately wants CCGs to employ ex-PCT staff, because if they don’t he will have to pay their redundancy costs. And if those costs come into the budget in 2012/13 it will increase the cost of these reforms by a much greater sum than he has predicted.
So the Secretary of State’s revolutionary reform programme has been reduced to him going around the country recommending that CCGs take on ex-PCT staff to avoid them adding to his redundancy costs.
The thought crept over me that if PCT staff are so good that the Secretary of State is recommending their skills to future CCGs, why has he gone to all the trouble of abolishing them?
So it’s starting to look as though the Clinical Commissioning Groups will be very similar to the PCTs only a bit smaller. Or maybe not even that. The line being pushed in some areas seems to be that CCGs need to be the same size as the old PCTs if they are to be financially viable.
No harm done then. The NHS restructure is not changing that much after all. Well, no harm done except the rapidly rising cost of the re-organisation, the drain on management time and the plummeting morale. Oh and then there is the quango that is being created to make sure the whole thing works.
Of course, Father Dougal spotted all this right at the beginning!