PCT managers to merge with local council

A PCT is set to become the first in the country to merge its management team with a local authority.

Blackburn and Darwen PCT is to merge its senior management with the council of the same name, and will be led by the chief executives of both organisations.

The aim of the integrated management team is to save money and help commission NHS, public health and social services together.

The collaboration is expected to save up to £2m annually. Sir Bill Taylor, chairman of the PCT board, said it was the ‘obvious next step’ as health and social services integrate.

However, PCTs’ role in the future is uncertain as health secretary Andrew Lansley plans to hand commissioning power to GPs.

PCTs could be responsible for just 4% of the NHS budget. Mr Lansley also recently appeared to rule out mergers between PCTs and local authorities.

‘The government intend to devolve day-to-day NHS commissioning to practice-led commissioners. We do not therefore plan to merge PCT commissioning structures with local authorities,’ he told the House of Commons.

Labour has expressed concerns that cuts in local authority funding will lead to PCTs having to subsidise social care using NHS cash.

Editor's blog: Why don't councils and health trusts work more closely?

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