A new support network was launched by the government this week to
encourage and support the uptake of care trusts.
The Integrated Care Network – jointly run by the Department of
Health and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister – will work with
local authorities, NHS trusts and primary care trusts to develop
more local partnerships.
It will organise national meetings and development programmes, and
provide best practice resources and consultancy services for
The move follows the launch earlier this month of the fifth care
trust, serving part of Essex. The Witham, Braintree and Halstead
Care Trust will focus on integrating health and social services for
Essex social services director Mike Leadbetter said the trust aimed
to provide a single, seamless service and would benefit from having
more input from clinicians. “Trusts are a way of getting
councillors onto the board and having a say in health policy,”
The four existing care trusts established in April are in Bradford,
Camden and Islington, Northumberland, and Manchester.
Northumberland Care Trust, which covers all client groups except
mental health service users, has admitted that it has had to
introduce measures to ration some of its services to reduce a
£1.9m budget overspend. It has recently established panels to
scrutinise more closely whether older people need residential
nursing care, and plans to scale back domestic work support. The
other three care trusts, which cover mental health, have not
reported any teething problems.
David Parkin, director of social care and planning at the
Northumberland trust, said: “We’ve saved around six admissions to
homes, but the major costs and savings are in home care.”