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So, what's the true picture of PBC uptake? Pharmafocus January 2007

While the DH’s claim of universal uptake is clearly misleading, it remains difficult to put together a true picture of how many GPs are actively engaged in practice-based commissioning.


NHS data specialists Binley’s is one of a handful of companies trying to map the progress of PBC region-by-region. Practices are collaborating with neighbours on PBC and forming ‘clusters’ and counting these is currently one of the more meaningful ways of monitoring uptake. The latest figures from Binley’s show there are 660 PBC clusters so far, of which about one third are independent; i.e. only one practice makes up the cluster.


In total, the 660 clusters contain 4,629 practices, which represents 55% of the total in England. These figures represent a rapid increase compared to the summer, but still cannot reveal the extent to which practices are actively commissioning and re-configuring local services.


Jason Bryant, Director, Pharmaceutical Business Unit at Binley’s says: “The data we collect is based on 100% accuracy. We go direct to source and never rely on secondary data or guesswork.


“However, following the re-configuration we found the primary care market place was, and to some extent still is, in turmoil. Who works for whom? Where are they based? Which PBC cluster do they belong to and what services do they provide?

“Logistically, our team of researchers are geared up to collect this information on a daily basis. But, in terms of the end user – i.e. the practice-based person – it doesn’t always prove to be that easy. This is often because the NHS organisation itself may be some way away from stability.”

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