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Separation of community services to continue

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government has revealed it aims to press ahead with the changes to community services to take them outside primary care, with the majority ending up under Foundation Trust control.

The separation of commissioning from provision for community services was begun under the previous Labour administration and will now move to ‘any willing provider' by April 2011, with Foundation Trusts set to take over a large proportion of current services.

The new White Paper said the move is essential reduce the barriers to entry for new providers, but the plans have previously been criticised by groups such as the NHS Alliance, which has warned that services will be subsumed by acute trusts.

The White Paper says: ‘In future, all community services will be provided by Foundation trusts or other types of provider'.

These could include social enterprises, with the Government stating its ambition to ‘create the largest and most vibrant social enterprise sector in the world'.

The paper also reveals that all NHS hospital trusts will have to become Foundation Trusts by April 2013, when Monitor will assume responsibility for regulating all providers of NHS care.

Separation of community services to be ramped up