Care trust could still be saved

PRESSURE from Hunts Post readers could still save the district s primary care trust, which provides NHS GP and dental services. The trust – one of the few locally to operate within its budget – faces extinction under a regional scheme aimed at making Hunt

PRESSURE from Hunts Post readers could still save the district's primary care trust, which provides NHS GP and dental services.

The trust - one of the few locally to operate within its budget - faces extinction under a regional scheme aimed at making Huntingdonshire effectively fund huge losses made by neighbouring trusts, particularly in Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire.

Hunts PCT, founded in 2001, breaks even on its £150 million-a-year budget and would have made a small profit without a loan to the 250-bed Hinchingbrooke Hospital to offset its £4million deficit last year. By contrast, the deficit in Cambridge and South Cambs was £40million.

The strategic health authority for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk wants to combine the county's PCTs into a single body under which Huntingdonshire would inevitably lose out.

The SHA has ignored a Hunts Post campaign, supported by the district's two MPs, Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) and Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) to allow residents to opt to keep Huntingdonshire separate from the loss-makers.

But Mr Djanogly and Michael Lynch, Hunts PCT chairman, believe that a letter from Health Minister, Lord Warner, will mean the Department of Health could respond positively to local people's support for keeping the highly successful Huntingdonshire trust.

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Huntingdonshire District Council, which has worked closely with the PCT on several high-profile local initiatives, has also publicly backed the Hunts Post campaign to retain the trust.

"Clearly, we should take this letter from the Minister as encouragement for as many local people as possible to write in," Mr Djanogly said.

Mr Lynch last year described the proposal to ditch the Hunts trust as "deeply flawed".

Although the formal consultation has just finished, the Department of Health seems to be making clear that it will listen to Huntingdonshire residents about the future of their health and dental services.

* A committee of MPs last week poured scorn on the notion that reorganising PCTs would either improve services or save money.

CONTACT: Lord Warner, Minister of State for Health, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS, if you think Huntingdonshire should retain its own primary care trust.

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