Exclusive: PCT reform delays social care merger

Plans to merge health and social care work have been set back by the recent PCT reconfiguration, but may be the stronger for it in the long run.  

Speaking exclusively to GP, Andrew Cozens, strategic adviser on children, adult and health services for the government’s Improvement and Development Agency, said councils and PCTs were ‘still largely finding their own way’, and halving the number of PCTs this month had delayed implementing joint working.  

Mr Cozens’ comments follow a series of meetings around the country to assess the implementation of changes to social services structures introduced two years ago.  

Much of the feedback was negative, he said, because the meetings coincided with cuts brought on by recent NHS deficits and those present had found joint working difficult.  

‘Outside London, well-established partnerships have been shaken up by the reorganisation,’ he said. ‘In the long term, more boundaries will be coterminous with councils. It’s too early to say if that will be significant, but having the same populations should help.’  

Mr Cozens said that mutual council and trust boundaries could have a number of other benefits for GPs and councils alike as ‘a lot of what councils know about populations is very useful for GPs and vice-versa’.  

He said that a number of PCTs were considering joint appointments with local councils to further integration.  

He also stressed the importance of shared data and knowledge in a number of ways.  

‘There is a growing trend in co-location of staff as it is important to share knowledge,’ he said.  

‘Single-handed GPs are very busy and finding time to be represented is quite problematic.’  

He predicted that although this may lead to fewer single-handed practices, he also thought they had a strong role to play and that it may lead to ‘stronger formal or informal groupings’ of practices like practice-based commissioning (PBC) consortia.  

However, Mr Cozens stopped short of saying that PBC could provide the means of completely unifying health and social care budgets, instead saying that PBC could throw up lots of ‘creative ideas about how patient needs can fit with practices’. 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs vaccinate thousands of patients against COVID-19 in extraordinary settings

GPs vaccinate thousands of patients against COVID-19 in extraordinary settings

GPonline takes a look at some of the more interesting sites that have played host...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

GPs to place orders for COVID-19 vaccine as NHS targets second dose at 12 weeks, says Stevens

GPs to place orders for COVID-19 vaccine as NHS targets second dose at 12 weeks, says Stevens

GP-led vaccination sites will be able to place orders for COVID-19 vaccine supplies...

RCGP and Marie Curie urge GPs to adopt end of life care standards for care homes

RCGP and Marie Curie urge GPs to adopt end of life care standards for care homes

Best practice standards to help GPs improve end of life care in care homes despite...

Thank your team for their inspirational work during the COVID-19 pandemic #myGPteam

Thank your team for their inspirational work during the COVID-19 pandemic #myGPteam

Never has teamwork in general practice been more important than during the COVID-19...

BMA mourns 'dark death toll' as UK passes 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

BMA mourns 'dark death toll' as UK passes 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

More than 100,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in the UK, five times the death...