Department of Health and Social Care
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New PECs to get more muscle on local NHS decisions

New PECs to get more muscle on local NHS decisions

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by The Government News Network on 30 March 2007

- Clinicians to be in the majority on local committees -

- PECs gain key role in driving forward 'care closer to home' reform -

Clinicians on new professional executive committees (PECs) will gain greater control over local NHS priorities, policies and investment plans under new guidance published today designed to ensure that clinicians from a multi-professional background are firmly part of primary care trusts' (PCTs) decision making process.

New guidance for PECs, issued today by Health Minister Andy Burnham, advises that all PEC members should be appointed on the basis of their skills, competencies, and ability to lead. Clinicians must also be in the majority on the committees.

Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) will oversee the new arrangements to ensure that PCTs are effectively engaging their clinicians and using their PECs to design and deliver local services.

Historically, many PECs have made a broad and valued contribution to the strategic direction and operational delivery of PCTs and to the wider healthcare agenda. However, other PECs have acted purely in an advisory capacity, functioning narrowly around a requirement to add clinical perspective to decisions that are taken elsewhere in the PCT.

Health Minister Andy Burnham said:

"Today's guidance will re-establish and reinvigorate professional executive committees, giving clinicians from a multi-professional background a greater say on local NHS decisions.

"Whitehall will do less dictating on what these committees will look like. PCTs will be free to decide how many members they need to have and the NHS will be able to bring in extra members to tackle specific challenges.

"With the introduction of practice based commissioning and the delegation of budgets, there needs to be a stronger emphasis on commissioning. Strong professional executive committees can play a vital role in providing the effective managerial and clinical leadership needed."

Dr Michael Dixon, NHS Alliance chair, said:

"This new guidance ensures clinicians are at the centre of all major decisions in PCTs. Hopefully, its spirit will be followed elsewhere in the NHS. We particularly welcome the department's own commitment to support the 'three at the centre' PCT leadership team and the advice contained within the guidance for SHAs.

"Most importantly, this guidance will reassure PEC clinicians that their role and input is valued and essential. It will also encourage frontline clinicians to support the PEC and their PCT. That is particularly important for the success of practice based commissioning. The NHS Alliance is pleased that it was able to contribute significantly to the department's review of the PEC."

Dr Peter Melton, NHS Networks chair, said:

"NHS Networks was pleased to be able to support the formulation of "Fit to lead". We had over 80 responses from a wide mix of individuals and organisations that we fed into the review. We believe that this document reflects the consensus view of re-energising, empowering and embedding clinical leadership into effective local NHS organisations. "The PEC Chair Network hosted by NHS Networks has drafted a proposed PEC Performance management framework. This framework is intended to support PCTs and SHAs with their effective implementation of "Fit to Lead"."

The main guidelines for the new PECs are:

- PCTs to get the freedom to determine the structure and format of PECs according to local needs.

- Members to be appointed against competencies, placing the emphasis on individuals' skills.

- PEC membership will be based on clear job descriptions, with appointments made on the basis of competencies.

- PECs should not be dominated by one clinical group.

- PECs to have a key role in driving forward practice based commissioning, including advising and contributing to the overall direction.

PCTs are expected to implement the new guidance by 1 October 2007.



1. PECS take responsibility for leading and guiding the PCT board through detailed thinking on priorities, service policies and investment plans. It usually has responsibility, delegated from the board, to take these forward.

2. The guidance published today takes into account responses to the Department of Health's consultation, 'Fit to Lead, a Review of the PEC'. The guidance can be viewed on the Department of Health web-site at:

3. The PEC Chair Network hosted by NHS Networks has drafted a proposed PEC Performance management framework. This framework is intended support PCTs and SHAs with their effective implementation of "Fit to Lead". It can be viewed at . The PEC Chair Network intends to refine the document before the implementation date of 01/10/07. They would be interested to hear views through

4. For public enquiries, please ring 020 7210 4850.

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