Local authorities will be given wide-ranging health powers as part of radical government reforms to the NHS announced today that will see primary care trusts and strategic health authorities scrapped by 2013.
While consortia of GP practices will take on responsibility for commissioning most health services from PCTs, councils will take on PCTs’ public health functions and be charged with leading the integration of health and social care locally, a white paper published today said.
Through new local health and wellbeing boards, councils will take on the function of joining up the commissioning of local NHS, social care and health improvement services.
They will jointly appoint directors of public health with a national public health service, with directors given control of ring-fenced public health budgets weighted according to deprivation.
GP consortia will commission most health services with a few exceptions, including dentistry, community pharmacy and large-scale specialist services.
They will be accountable to a new NHS commissioning board which will set standards for services.
The government also announced a wide-ranging review of health and social care regulation today with a view towards significantly reducing the burdens on commissioners and providers.