Care services minister Liam Byrne is full of bright ideas; he had
another one in his interview with us this week. Since under
government plans primary care trusts will no longer be service
providers, there will be a great opportunity for local authorities
to develop joint ventures with them.
If under the same plans PCTs and local authorities more often share
the same boundaries, this will also smooth the way to joint
ventures with a health and social care dimension, such as falls
prevention and smoking cessation programmes.
What a pity then that, when it comes to PCTs, social services are
more used to picking up the pieces than putting together clever
initiatives. Overstretched social services budgets are plugging
the financial hole left by PCTs, whose finances have been hit by
cuts to a health service which is having to reduce a £250m
deficit. In this light Byrne’s talk of more joint ventures looks
like any number of government ideas – bright but fading fast.