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Practice based commissioning in the NHS: the implications for mental health

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The Government recently set out new plans for general practitioners (GPs) to commission a range of specialist health services for their patients. The plans, called practice based commissioning, allow for budgets to be devolved from primary care trusts (PCTs) to individual practices.

The scope of practice based commissioning includes most mental health services. The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Heath (SCMH) is concerned that this may be premature. There is a risk that the payments system for mental health care (which will soon be different to many other NHS services) will put cost above quality and patient choice in making decisions about what to commission.

While there are important benefits to the new system, SCMH recommends that practice based commissioning is not extended to mental health services until it can be done on an equal basis with other parts of the NHS.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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