Smith hails trust pilots

The government has announced the first nine care trust pilot
sites and confirmed that a further 29 areas are still under

At an initial meeting of representatives from the nine chosen
areas, health minister Jacqui Smith said she was encouraged by the
level of interest, which was far higher than early reports had
suggested, and confirmed that care trusts were here to stay.

“Where we need the extra organisational links that care trusts
bring, this is clearly the system to develop,” Smith said.

She added that care trusts would play a key part in the
development of integrated services as outlined in the national
service frameworks for older people and for mental health.

However, she acknowledged that the voluntary care trusts,
brought in under the Health and Social Care Act 2001, would not be
suitable in all areas of the country or for all types of

As expected, the nine pilot sites focus mainly on mental health
services and services for older people. Partners involved represent
the different local authority and NHS structures.

Smith acknowledged that closer working between health and social
services would raise issues around different staff terms and
conditions which the pilot care trust boards would need to resolve
before going live from April 2002. But she ruled out the need for a
“common employment framework”.

“Clearly there will be issues in terms of human resource
management that the boards will have to consider when they are
thinking of staffing,” she said. “But this does not mean that the
logical step is that we have to do away with different terms and

Following recent references by Prime Minister Tony Blair and
health secretary Alan Milburn to potential private sector
involvement in NHS management, Smith said she “would not see care
trust boards as areas for private management”.

Smith said she could not envisage either a health body or local
authority partner making cuts to resources once they had been
committed to care trust services or functions.

Andrew Butters, chief executive of Manchester Mental Health
Partnership – on which one of the pilot care trusts will be based –
said that care trusts would be a way of managing integration after
the demise of health authorities in April 2002.

“Care trusts are designed to accommodate all the parties that we
need to actually make this sort of service work,” he said. “They
will allow users and carers to sit at the highest level and that is
very, very important in the field of mental health and learning

Chairperson of the mental health partnership board Marilyn
Taylor said: “I think we have managed to convince social services
staff that we are operating a model that values social care as well
as health care.”

Care trust pilots

– Bexley (older people)

– Manchester (adult mental health)

– Essex (housing, focusing on older people)

– Camden and Islington (mental health)

– Sandwell (mental health)

– Bradford (mental health)

– Brighton and Hove (vulnerable client groups)

– North Somerset (wide number of client groups)

– North West Surrey (mental health and learning

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.