13 September 2007 | Antony Barton
Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) must listen to patients' opinions when commissioning services and demonstrate the effect their views have had, according to a committee of MPs.
Edward Leigh MP, chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said too many PCTs were "paying lip service to the principles of the Department of Health's clinical governance agenda". He described this as a "poor state of affairs" because the agenda is set up to improve service quality and patient safety.
He added: "The lines of communication between PCTs, on one hand, and their GPs and other healthcare contractors, on the other, are defective. The PCTs must get the message across that clinical governance systems and processes must be applied day-to-day to drive up standards of quality and safety."
In a committee report, MPs say one of the PCTs' obstacles in achieving this is the independence of contractors delivering healthcare, particularly general practitioners. It says there is a lack of clarity between PCTs and their contractors in accountability for quality, safety and the involvement of patients in improving quality.