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Departments: Standards

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of his Department's public service agreement targets (a) take and (b) do not take account of rural proofing. (159630)

Primary care trusts (PCTs) are allocated resources to commission health services at a local level for their population, and are responsible for taking into account the needs, experiences and expectations of their local population. Together with local authorities (LAs), PCTs are therefore responsible for ensuring that priorities, including public service agreements, are delivered in a way that ensures equity of service provision, including taking into account rural issues, when commissioning services for their area.

To support this, the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill will introduce a new requirement for PCTs and upper tier LAs to produce a joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) of the health and well-being needs of their local community. This assessment will be the means by which they will describe the future health, care and well-being needs of local populations. It is expected that the joint strategic needs assessment will be carried out jointly by the Director of Public Health, the Director of Adult Social Services and the Director of Children's Services. The duty on LAs and PCTs to prepare a JSNA will commence on 1 April 2008.