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Health Act 1999

Section 6: Delegation of Health Authority functions relating to pilot schemes and section 28C arrangements

105.Section 6 concerns the delegation to Primary Care Trusts of Health Authority functions relating to Primary Care Act pilot schemes.

106.The Primary Care Act 1997 introduced a new option for the delivery of some family health services and provides for primary care professionals to provide personal medical services (PMS) and personal dental services (PDS) (essentially the same as General Medical Services (GMS) and General Dental Services (GDS)) under agreements with Health Authorities known in the initial stages as pilot schemes with the option in the future for these services to be provided under permanent arrangements (Part II of the Primary Care Act 1997).

107.Paragraph 88 of Schedule 4 and subsection 18A(1) of the 1977 Act, as inserted by section 5 of the Act, make provision for Primary Care Trusts to take on the role of providing PMS and PDS under both piloted and permanent arrangements.

108.New section 17A of the 1977 Act, as inserted by section 12 of the Act, enables Health Authorities to delegate the power to make agreements as a contract holder with a PMS provider whether under pilot scheme or permanent arrangements. Section 6 inserts new section 8A into the Primary Care Act 1997 in respect of pilot schemes which provides for circumstances when such delegation cannot take place and makes provision for the transfer of rights and liabilities where parties to the contract change.

109.The circumstances when such delegation cannot take place are:-

  • when the Primary Care Trust is the provider of PMS under the same agreement (subsection (b)) – this excludes the possibility of Primary Care Trusts managing a contract for services which they are also involved in providing; and

  • in respect of agreements to provide PDS (subsection (a)) - responsibility for managing PDS is retained by Health Authorities in line with their responsibilities for making arrangements for the provision of dental services through GDS.

110.Sub-sections (c) and (d) also provide further safeguards to avoid potential conflicts of interest by preventing a Health Authority from delegating functions in respect of

  • receiving applications from potential pilot scheme providers and turning these into formal proposals to the Secretary of State; and

  • the provision of funds to meet potential pilot scheme providers’ preparatory costs.

111.Section 6 also inserts new section 28EE into the 1977 Act and, taken in conjunction with paragraph 37 of Schedule 4 to the Act, makes similar provisions for PMS provided under permanent arrangements.

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