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practice-based commissioningAn evolving system which will enable individual or groups of GPs in the UK to directly commission (contract for) healthcare services using their own budgets, a process currently overseen by primary care trusts (PCTs). Under PBC, GPs and their practice staff will have access to individual practice budgets, and pay for their patients’ operations and treatments according to the national tariffs set out as part of the Payment by Results system.
PBC will also allow GPs and primary care staff to develop and fund services in their local communities as an alternative to hospital treatment for some patients. PCTs currently support this process, and on behalf of their practices provide practice budgets, clinical and financial information to help GPs and negotiate contracts with hospitals and other providers for the services required. Practices can keep up to 70% of any savings made by agreement with the local PCT, which is used to purchase time—e.g., pay for community nurse care or extended hours—or equipment—e.g., an electrocardiography unit—which will reduce patient costs by managing them outside of hospital.
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