NHS chiefs back London boundaries

Coterminous arrangements between councils and primary care trusts in London look set to be retained after winning the backing last week of NHS leaders.

The five London strategic health authorities said the capital should retain its current PCT structure, which is based mainly on common boundaries with individual councils, rather than move to fewer trusts.

The news will come as a relief to London councils, which had been concerned about the future of service partnerships and joint commissioning arrangements with coterminous PCTs.

Under the proposal, the existing 31 trusts, all but two of which map directly on to individual councils, would be retained. There will be further consultation on whether Sutton and Merton PCT should be split along borough lines.

NHS chiefs also gave their backing to coterminous arrangements at the first of two evidence sessions held by the health select committee for its current inquiry into the reforms.

Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, countered claims that smaller PCTs coterminous with unitary authorities would lack capacity or that larger trusts coterminous with county councils would be too remote.

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