Primary care trusts established on a careful note

13 Jan 00
The Department of Health has signalled a cautious start to its latest modernisation initiative, confirming that only 15 primary care trusts will be formed this year. Thirteen PCTs will be launched on April 1 and a further two will go live on October 1.

14 January 2000

However, the department added that 44 more trusts could be formed by October and that there would be at least 100 applications for PCT status in April 2001.

A typical PCT will cover 100,000 people and will have a £70m budget. Some PCTs will simply commission care, others will take over community health trusts to run services such as district nursing, health visiting and physiotherapy.

The slow start may be because the British Medical Association has insisted that at least two-thirds of local GPs approve the switch from primary care group to trust. But ministers may have also heeded calls from finance staff that the pace of change was too fast.

The NHS Confederation's chief executive, Stephen Thornton, said the number was not a disappointment.

'It is a reflection of the rigorous process that the aspirant primary care trusts have been tested against, and a mature view about how quickly this change should be made,' he said.


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