Health bodies to join forces

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THE NHS trusts which commission health services in the area are going to join forces.

NHS Portsmouth, NHS Southampton, NHS Hampshire and NHS Isle of Wight are to become one of three 'clusters' of primary care trusts (PCTs) in the South Central region.

PCTs will cease to exist from April 2013 when it is planned that GPs will take charge of healthcare budgets.

The aim of bringing PCTs together is to ensure a smooth transition period and so they can help support the groups of GPs and local councils which will take on responsibility for public health.

Tracy Sanders, chief executive of NHS Portsmouth, said: 'We already have long established working relationships with the other three primary care trusts that will be inour cluster, as staff from all four organisations have been working collaboratively and collectively in a wide number of areas.

'NHS Portsmouth board will oversee the development of cluster arrangements to ensure that they work effectively, exploit further the benefits of collective working as well as ensure that the local needs and identity of Portsmouth is maintained.

'We are already working closely with local GPs to help them to establish their new consortia during this period of transition.'