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Reorganisation hit PCTs' progress

PCTs had just begun to make

real progress in improving health care in their communities before they were reorganised, a report from the NHS Confederation concludes.

But trusts now face a 'very difficult' future as they deal with the effect of the mergers which came into force on 1 October, it said.

Achievements listed in the report, 'Primary Care Trusts: serving communities', include better access to primary care and rapidly increasing numbers of GP consultations.

Close working between local government and PCTs was leading to better care of local populations, the confederation said, and practice-based commissioning was producing efficient use of resources and more convenient services for patients.

The newly merged PCTs would need space and support from the Government while they became established, it concluded.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC negotiator, said there was a risk that PCTs would take their 'eye off the ball'.

He added: 'For the NHS to be able to implement some of the policies that have come out of Whitehall they are going to need an awful lot longer before they are judged.'

The 303 PCTs in England were merged to create 152.

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