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Bexley's GPs consortium one step closer to merging with council

PUBLISHED: 14:36 12 September 2011

Dr Howard Stoate is chair of Bexley Clinical Cabinet, will soon share public health responsibilities with Bexley Council

Dr Howard Stoate is chair of Bexley Clinical Cabinet, will soon share public health responsibilities with Bexley Council

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Bexley's GP consortium and Bexley Council are one step closer being in charge of healthcare in the borough.

Bexley Council’s Public Health Scrutiny Sub Group (5) voted to integrate services in a move which will effect 17 members of staff although it is not expected to lead to any job losses.

The move comes after the government announced plans to abolish all Primary Care Trusts by April 2013, giving GP consortiums and councils joint responsibility for commissioning healthcare.

Bexley’s councillors voted at last Monday’s (5) Public Health Scrutiny Group to go for a co-location option meaning NHS and council staff would share office space, resources and have an agreed joint work plan to deliver public health services. But there would be no transfer of budgets, meaning each organisation would have responsibility over their budget.

A council spokesman said: “Approval of this option remains subject to further consideration, members and health partners. If approved the option would mean a physical co-location of staff but associated day to day management and finance will remain with the respective organisations.

“Health and local authority partners have agreed that they will work ahead of the 2013 deadline to ensure that public health expertise is retained and partners have the opportunity to work together to address the key public health priorities for the borough.”

The spokesman said the base is expected to be at the council offices in Hadlow Road, Sidcup. Bexley GPs have become one of the first consortiums in the country to take over responsibilities from the Primary Care Trust when they were handed power in December, before Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s controversial White Paper even had a reading in the House of Commons.

The government’s revised reforms, which now include the clause that no GP will have to get involved in the work of the commissioning group if they don’t want to, were voted through the House of Commons by 316 to 251 last Wednesday (7). It now has to be debated in the House of Lords, a date for which has yet to be confirmed.

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