Headlines: April 7th, 2010

Health and social care commissioning in Blackburn with Darwen is now in a combined organisation, following the creation of a ‘Care Trust Plus’.

The new organisation began operating this month, replacing the current primary care trust and integrating staff and services from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

It is one of only a few Care Trusts set up by councils and the NHS, despite government support for the idea. However, the Blackburn with Darwen partners say that they have gone beyond the usual model by combining elements of children’s social care, as well as giving the new body a say over services like housing and leisure.

They hope to simplify planning and buying health and care, supporting their key aims of improving the health and wellbeing of local people and reducing health inequalities across the borough.

In December 2009, the Appointments Commission announced the appointment of Sir Bill Taylor as chair of the new organisation. He is the former leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Sir Bill commented: “The people of Blackburn with Darwen face enormous health inequalities and many will live a shorter life as a result than people in other parts of the northwest.

“By creating a Care Trust Plus, the NHS and the Council are showing great wisdom. They can join forces to tackle many of the causes of these inequalities by sharing resources and skills to provide a better service for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. I look forward to this collaborative approach.”