Exclusive: PCTs unable to integrate community services with GPs

Time constraints and a lack of guidance are preventing more PCTs integrating their community services provider arms with GP-led organisations, a GP newspaper investigation has found.

Many community services will be integrated with acute trusts
Many community services will be integrated with acute trusts

This was among the options PCTs were asked to consider when they outsource services they provide themselves under the DoH's Transforming Community Services reforms.

But data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 64 PCTs suggest only 3% of PCTs plan to hand their community services to another community-based provider.

NHS Suffolk said it was planning to integrate its provider arm for adult services with the local acute trust.

But if the deadline for implementation had been longer, it said that a partnership based on GP-led consortia linking with secondary and social care would ‘score higher'. Handing the service to GP-led consortia alone would also ‘score highly'.

NHS Worcestershire plans to integrate community services that work closely with GPs with general practice, but the mechanism for achieving the change ‘has not been resolved'.

Around 22% of PCTs are looking to integrate their community provider arms with acute or mental health trusts.

A total of 39% are yet to make a decision on the best way forward. Around 6 per cent of PCTs are looking to convert their provider arms into a community foundation trust, and the same number may turn them into a social enterprise.

Some PCTs (19%) were looking to implement a ‘pathway specific allocation of services' with sections of their provider arms transferred to various organisations.

Only 5% of PCTs said they would continue to provide services themselves.

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