Coterminosity now an option for most

The government will consult on having coterminous primary care trusts and councils in the vast majority of areas, after amending strategic health authority proposals that excluded shared boundary options.

The Department of Health’s decision to insert proposals for coterminosity in areas where they had initially been excluded will be welcomed by councils, who had feared existing partnerships with PCTs would be broken up.

The plans to slash the number of PCTs, to increase their commissioning power, were put out to consultation this week.

In Essex, north east and south west England, the DH has included plans to retain coterminosity in areas where they would have been broken up, had strategic health authority proposals been left unamended.

For instance, in Essex, there is now an option to retain coterminous PCTs in Southend and Thurrock.

There are now proposals on the table that, if pursued, would result in coterminosity across about 90 per cent of council areas.

Health minister Lord Warner said last week the government expected PCTs in deprived areas to outsource some community health services because of poor levels of patient satisfaction, threatening services run jointly with councils.

He told a National Association of Primary Care conference that other organisations would have to take over services in poorer areas, despite government assurances that trusts would not be forced to divest themselves of provider functions.

Warner said: “We need to be more robust about bringing new providers into our most deprived areas. The people who are least satisfied with primary care are in those areas.”

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