A CHANCE to help shape the delivery of health-care to thousands of patients in Huntingdonshire is available through a prospective new GP consortium.

Hunts Care Partners is a group of 13 practices in St Neots, St Ives, Somersham, Sawtry, Warboys, Buckden, Little Paxton, Brampton and Alconbury whose members are currently putting together a bid to become a GP consortium.

Under proposals drawn up by Health Secretary and South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Langsley, GPs across the country are being asked to form consortia to replace the current system of commissioning services through primary care trusts.

In Cambridgeshire, two GP consortia were formed in September. The first, Hunts Health, consists of 10 practices and is led by Dr Simon Brown. The second, called the Borderline Commissioning Consortium, currently includes four practices and is chaired by Dr Richard Withers.

Hunts Care Partners aims to be a third.

Currently three GPs, two practice managers and one nurse are on the leadership team, and a patient is needed to join the team.

Marilyn Long, practice manager of Cromwell Place Surgery in St Ives, said: "The team are mindful that decisions about patients should not be made without having consulted with them and are therefore keen to reach the widest audience to ensure that the most effective patient representation is recruited to the team.

"The individual who joins the Hunts Care Partners team will contribute towards a shared vision of quality healthcare for local patients in a time of enormous change in the National Health Service.

"They will know that the voice of every patient, carer and community must be heard - they would offer independent and objective views and ideas about any changes that are proposed.

"There is much to be done. Over the next two to three years the responsibility for buying health services for the local population will move from NHS Cambridgeshire (the primary care trust) to new organisations that will grow from the emerging consortia and clusters in the area."

INFORMATION: Patient representatives must be registered with one of the following practices: Alconbury and Brampton; Almond Road, St Neots; Cedar House, St Neots; Church Street, Somersham; Cromwell Place, St Ives; Buckden and Little Paxton; Northcote House, St Ives; Parkhall, Somersham; St Neots Health Centre; Moat House Surgery, Warboys; Orchard Surgery, St Ives; Spinney Surgery, St Ives and Wellside Surgery, Sawtry. To submit an application form call into your own surgery, e-mail marilyn.long@nhs.net or call 01480 462206. Deadline for receipt of applications is Friday (March 25) at 5pm.