Headlines: July 5th, 2010

Plans for a single integrated management team to run council and NHS services in part of Lancashire are expected to be approved this week. The radical move by Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn with Darwen Teaching Care Trust Plus is designed to protect frontline services and improve local health.

The proposal to merge senior management of the two bodies, starting with the creation of the SIMT with a single chief executive, goes to the Council’s executive board and the Care Trust Plus board on Thursday. It is estimated it will save two million pounds across the two organisations which will be redeployed to front line services.

The new model has been developed in consultation with board members and local GPs. The SIMT is thought to be the first of its kind in the country and will enable the district to respond to the current economic climate, protect local commissioning of services and improve health and well being through innovative shared working. It has been described as ‘the obvious next step’ after the merger of health, well being and social care commissioning through the creation of the Care Trust Plus earlier this year.

Sir Bill Taylor, who chairs the Care Trust Plus Board, said the collaboration would bring about real and immediate savings and patient benefits. Council leader Michael Lee said: “Our partnership with the NHS in Blackburn with Darwen has a long and successful history and while we have to recognise the current economic situation we all face, this is about far more than just making savings. It is a chance to reshape service delivery in the interest of the local community and protect services.”