Health and social care partnerships could be broken up by the
current review of primary care trusts, even though improving joint
working is one of its key aims.
There are fears among smaller unitary councils, several of which
share boundaries with PCTs, that the government’s drive to halve
the number of trusts will threaten partnerships.
One local government leader said: “There will be winners and
losers. It’s not looking good for the smaller unitaries.”
Strategic health authorities, which manage the performance of PCTs,
are drawing up plans for reorganisation in their areas, which will
be submitted to the Department of Health next month.
The DH wants to reduce the 303 PCTs to about 150 to save £250m
and improve partnership working, by ensuring council and trust
boundaries, as far as possible, coincide. However, the drive to cut
costs could encourage SHAs to bring together smaller PCTs that
share boundaries with councils.
Jo Webber, policy manager at the NHS Confederation, said:
“Partnerships need to be telling SHAs that what they are doing is
working and PCTs need to be saying ‘let’s not throw out what we’ve
learned and the relationships we’ve made’.”