FAMILY doctors in Fylde and Wyre are taking over control of NHS spending in the area.
GPs have now been given the green light to take charge of health budgets in more than three quarters of England’s local health authorities, including North Lancashire. Blackpool was one of the first areas where the change took place, in December.
Under Government plans for modernising the NHS, in the Health and Social Care Act, all 152 primary care trusts – which currently commission health-care services – will be scrapped.
NHS North Lancashire, which covers Fylde and Wyre, is among the most recent 62 organisations – called clinical commission groups (CCGs) – to be passed responsibility for commissioning healthcare services for their communities.
A total of 211 CCGs will, from April 1, be responsible for £65bn of the £95bn NHS commissioning budget.
They will be independent bodies, governed by their members – GP practices in their area – and will be responsible for ‘buying’ health-care services, such as hospital treatment, mental health and community health services. The public health role currently carried out by primary care trusts will pass to local councils.
North Lancashire’s CCG had to complete a rigorous five-month assessment first.
Andrew Bennett, chief officer at NHS Lancashire North clinical commissioning group, said: “We are delighted the NHS Commissioning Board has authorised NHS Lancashire North CCG.
“This demonstrates they have confidence in our ability to take on full responsibility for making decisions about local health services from April.
“Many local GPs and other health professionals have been involved in the development of the CCG.
“They are in contact with patients on a day-to-day basis and are using this experience to ensure the CCG focuses on improving the health of the whole community.”