Headlines: August 18th, 1998

There’s been criticism of the Department of Health’s guidance on the
composition of Primary Care Groups.

The Local Government Association says the guidance does not go fare enough
towards securing, by right, more influence for local councils and councillors.

The LGA says the new PCG boards must have adequate local government
representation if the government’s health agenda is not to be undermined. The
association is disappointed that the guidance does not include local government representation for functions other than social services.

When fully operational PCGs will take financial responsibility for planning and
funding health services for the communities they serve.

Cllr Brian Harrison, chair of the LGA’s health panel said: ‘We are pleased to
see that the guidance does not exclude locally elected councillors from
applying for appointment as Lay Members of the PCG boards, but believe that
this representation could be strengthened.

‘Local authorities have recently been given new responsibilities to improve the
health of their local communities. If the new health agenda is to be truly
effective, it is important that local government is appropriately represented
on the PCG boards. This will give local people a say in the decisions that are
made to tackle their local health issues.

‘The LGA will be urging local authorities to maximise all opportunities for
co-opting members on to the boards in their negotiations with health