Health changes under way

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RADICAL changes to the health system have come into effect for Hartlepool and East Durham.

The new clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) today took over responsibilities from primary care trusts for a string of services.

Their work involves commissioning of mainly hospital-based and other non-primary care health services.

In the Hartlepool area, the main CCG role is to plan, buy and manage services for the 287,000 population of Hartlepool and Stockton.

This financial year it has a £367m allocation for services such as hospital care as well as the provision of ambulances, community nursing, occupational therapy and medicines.

l Watch out for more details in tomorrow’s Health Matters page, with a detailed explanation from Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, the chairman of the CCG for the Hartlepool area.

But the new CCG is only one part of the changes.

Others include:

l The current primary care trusts, strategic health authorities and the Health Protection Agency were abolished as statutory bodies yesterday;

l The CCGs have taken on responsibilities from the primary care trusts:

l NHS England (previously known as the NHS Commissioning Board) will have a national, regional and local presence through area teams.

It will take on many responsibilities previously undertaken by PCTs. They relate to primary care services, specialised commissioning and emergency planning;

l Local authorities will take on new roles linked to public health and health improvement;

l The organisation Public Health England (PHE) has become an Executive Agency of the Department of Health and will include the remit of the former Health Protection Agency.

Anyone wanting more information on the NHS changes should visit the Department of Health website at

www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/06/act-explained/