Blackburn with Darwen Council is planning to transfer its adult and children’s social care functions to its local primary care trust to form a single organisation with responsibility for health and care across the borough.
The council and PCT are consulting the local population on the plan to set up a “care trust plus”, which, it is believed, would be the first organisation in England to bring together the commissioning of health and social care for children as well as adults.
The organisations say the move would drive efficiency by getting rid of duplication in management, planning and back-office functions, and giving the combined organisation greater market power in purchasing health and care services from providers.
They also say a care trust plus would increase democratic accountability in NHS services as its board would include representation from elected councillors, unlike the PCT’s ruling body.
Other care trusts
Care trusts with responsibility for commissioning health and adult social care exist in Northumberland, North East Lincolnshire, Solihull and Torbay, but none of these has responsibility for council children’s services.
Bexley Care Trust used to have responsibility for a number of adult social care functions but these were transferred back to Bexley Council last year.
Timetable for care trust plus
Blackburn with Darwen Council and the PCT will hold a series of public meetings on the plan in May and June before deciding formally on whether to submit an application to the Department of Health this summer.
Should this happen, and the application is accepted, the care trust plus will start operating by April 2010.