Spend budgets on your own patients, trust told

WE RE watching you, Cambridgeshire s new county-wide primary care trust was warned last week. The trust, which provides GP and NHS dental services, takes over on Sunday – in spite of anger in Huntingdonshire at the scrapping of its own successful PCT. At

WE'RE watching you, Cambridgeshire's new county-wide primary care trust was warned last week.

The trust, which provides GP and NHS dental services, takes over on Sunday - in spite of anger in Huntingdonshire at the scrapping of its own successful PCT.

At its fifth - and final - annual meeting in Huntingdon last week, the Hunts trust's acting chief executive, Peter Wightman, warned the new body that siphoning off money intended for patient care in this district would not be tolerated.

"It must ensure that Huntingdonshire money is spent on Huntingdonshire people," he said. "We are worried that that is not going to happen because of debts elsewhere in the community.


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"You are entitled to go to the new PCT and demand transparency about where the money is being spent," Mr Wightman told the people of Huntingdonshire.

Priorities for the new body would be to maintain partnerships, do more "county thinking and bigger planning", and commission high quality hospital services as close to patients as possible.

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The Hunts trust met every Government target throughout its existence, including achieving financial balance every year, said acting chairman Philip Casey.

A good test of the new trust's commitment to the district would be delivery of new health centres planned for St Ives and St Neots.

"There's still work to be done to see that all of the people receive first class healthcare," he added.

Mr Wightman said fellow health service professionals were envious of Huntingdonshire's success in integrating health and social care services, particularly for elderly people and children.

"New national data show some of the highest levels of care in the country," he said proudly.

The out-of-hours GP service, which is based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, was "particularly special", he said, because most of the shifts were covered by local GPs, delivering high quality services and providing good value for money.

And Hunts Comm, the umbrella healthcare commissioning body that includes the shared budgets of all 23 GP practices in the district, had now become the model on which Whitehall was urging other areas to base their activities.

Dr Luke Twelves, a Ramsey GP and Hunts Comm's chairman, added: "We want a very strong voice for Huntingdonshire. We have done that, and we don't want to let go of everything that had worked well.

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