16 February 2006 | Helen Gilbert
Local health provision is to be expedited with the creation of an accredited supplier list for Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).
To gain admission to the lists, suppliers will need to meet quality standards during a tender process.
The plan was outlined in the Department of Health's (DH) white paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say: A New Direction for Community Services.
It is designed to ensure that commissioners can procure GP services faster, particularly in deprived areas with poor access to primary care.
The DH will announce details shortly on the standards suppliers have to adhere to in order to be placed on the pre-qualified list.
"We will help all PCTs in under-served areas to draw upon national expertise to attract new providers of sufficient size to fill these gaps in provision," the paper stated.
Under the scheme, PCTs will retain control of their proposed contract specifications to ensure services are tailored to local needs and will also be responsible for awarding and signing contracts.
The initiative is part of government plans to improve patient access to NHS care outside of hospital.
Last year Fairness in Primary Care procurement principles were introduced by DH. The list is a new aspect which forms part of those principles.