Trust’s cuts spark Brent legal threat

Brent Council may mount a legal challenge against its local primary care trust over a cuts plan that would transfer an estimated £9m in costs from health to social care.

The legal threat was made in a paper to a council executive meeting this week, which discussed the impact of Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust’s proposals to stave off a £25m projected deficit in 2006-7 and save £28m in 2007-8.

The council said the plans would transfer costs of £4.5m in 2006-7 and £9m in 2007-8. As a result, its adult and social care department is facing an overspend of £3.1m in 2006-7.

The biggest cost in 2007-8 (£3.2m) concerns long-stay hospital patients transferred to the community, who were traditionally funded by the PCT. An estimated £2.1m would be shunted to the council from hospital bed closures.

In a statement last month, the PCT said it had “worked closely with local partners in the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector to keep them informed of our decisions”.

But the council said this week that it had been given a few days’ notice of the cuts plan before it was recommended to the PCT board last month.


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