Headlines: February 26th, 1999

Primary Care Trusts may be given a budget of 60m pounds to commission
healthcare for their patients. This will allow them to shape hospital and community services for patients in their area and to invest in improving primary and community services provided by doctors, nurses and other local professionals. They will also be able to develop more integrated services between general practice, community services and social services.

More than 400 Primary Care Groups were invited to indicate an interest in ‘Trust’ status and 170 have responded. Primary Care Groups will begin to operate in April 1999 and the first Trusts are likely to appear in April 2000. The development of Trusts will be based on local consensus and agreement. While they will be established by the Secretary of State, the progression from Group to Trust status will be locally determined taking into account local views.

There will be a `Trust Executive’ with a majority of professionals which will take most of the day-to-day decisions and play a leading role in formulating policy on priorities, service developments and investment plans. The’Trust Board’, comprising a majority of lay community members, but with a strong professional presence, will be responsible for the overall performance of the Trust, and will work with the Executive corporately on major issues..