The planned merger of Birmingham’s three Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) has been cancelled due to the radical overhaul of the NHS by the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition.
West Midlands NHS health authority confirmed that it could see no point in merging the PCTs early next year if they were to then be abolished by the new Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
It comes as Sophia Christie, chief executive of Birmingham East and North PCT, has been head-hunted for a new Department of Health position and has left the city.
Ms Christie went on leave from her position on October 1 for a special assignment with the Government and there is no set date for her return.
Birmingham’s three PCTs – Birmingham East and North, South and Heart of Birmingham Teaching – were set to merge into one organisation following a public consultation, but that will no longer go ahead.
Moira Dumma, chief executive of South Birmingham PCT, was appointed head of the Birmingham ‘cluster’ of PCTs ahead of the proposed merger and was favourite to head the combined Birmingham PCT.
A NHS West Midlands spokeswoman said: “Following the publication of the White Paper in July that outlined the planned abolition of all PCTs, it was decided not to proceed with the option of one PCT for Birmingham.
“Much collaboration still takes place between the three PCTs to improve health services across the city.”
The U-turn on the merger means that the three PCTs will work together to make savings but will run as separate organisations with separate staff.
In May, it emerged that £62.5 million must be cut from NHS management budgets in the West Midlands in order to meet Whitehall cutbacks.
Departments from finance to human resources and communications are coming under threat from job losses as there is an emphasis on keeping frontline and medical staff in work.
PCTs had reported finding the waves of cuts difficult to reach on their own, so the health authority grouped them into “clusters” across the region to share the responsibility of making savings.
The Birmingham cluster must bear the brunt of the largest cuts in the region – shaving 48 per cent off its budget over three years from £41.8million to £21.7 million -– as it spends the most on management costs and there are high variances in expenditure across the region.
Executive managers of NHS West Midlands have already approved the transfers of some PCT services to other organisations, mainly hospitals, as part of sweeping changes.
A report showed NHS Walsall is integrating adult and children’s services with Walsall Hospital NHS Trust and learning disability services from Walsall and Dudley are moving under the jurisdiction of Sandwell Mental Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.
NHS Dudley is proposing to transfer adult services to Dudley Group of Hospitals but children’s services are still under discussion
While NHS Sandwell is proposing to transfer adult and childrens services to Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.