Headlines: October 22nd, 1999

Primary Care Groups have shown confidence in the Government’s still relatively new form of local NHS administration by backing moves to become Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).Up to 61 of the new Primary Care Groups are asking to become Trusts.

Established under the 1999 Health Act, there are 461 Primary Care Groups (PCGs) covering England and Wales. They allow local GPs, nurses and other health professionals to manage the budgets for buying health services from local NHS Trusts.

Becoming PCTs will allow them to go a stage further by taking on the same responsibility for community health services as well.

The Government says it’s a vote of confidence in the scheme from doctors and nurses involved in the new management system.

Among those PCGs seeking PCTs status is Nelson PCG in SW London, which has responded with enthusiasm to the opportunities that Trust status will give local health professionals and patients.

Joint chair of Nelson PCG Dr Howard Freeman said:”We believe that a merger of primary medical care and community nursing into a new organisation will lead to improved quality of services provided in the community, a greater sensitivity to local need and closer working together by GPs, nurses, therapists and social services.”

All applications for PCT status will need to meet the Government’s already published criteria and are subject to local consultation.