MPs dismiss trust plans as ‘mockery’

Plans to reform primary care trusts could harm relationships between health and local government, make the NHS more remote and threaten public health services, MPs have said.

The health select committee’s damning report says the government plans, issued last July, “[make] a mockery” of the consultation on the forthcoming white paper on health and social care by pre-empting it, and calls for them to be scrapped.

It also says the proposals to slash the number of primary care trusts are unlikely to achieve three key government objectives: to improve PCT commissioning, shave £250m off NHS budgets and boost patient involvement in services.

While accepting the plans may improve relationships between health and social care, by creating coterminous boundaries between PCTs and top-tier authorities, it says this will be at the expense of partnerships between currently coterminous trusts and district councils, which control housing.

Bigger PCTs will be more remote from local people, militating against increased patient involvement, while initiatives in the 2004 public health white paper could be put at risk by the drive to make savings, it adds.

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