Primary and social care to work closely

Primary and social care will work more closely together to commission services according to individual patient needs under reforms laid down in the White Paper.

The DoH wants a closer working relationship between PCTs and local authorities, GPs, health and social care providers, voluntary organisations and patients.

There will be more joint commissioning between PCTs and local authorities and the DoH hopes this will in part be achieved by streamlining the budget and planning cycles so they can work together to allocate budgets to individual patient pathways.

At patient level, GPs will buy individual health services using practice-based commissioning and collaborate with social services or patients piloting control of their own social care budgets.

Joint health and social care teams will be set up by 2008 to support people with ongoing conditions and the most complex needs. The target for individual care plans for all patients with long-term health conditions and social needs is also 2008.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt said: 'People don't think about health, housing, care or transport needs separately. We must ensure that health and care have a symbiotic relationship.'

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