§ Mr. Denham
[holding answer 7 February 2000]: As indicated in national guidance, the application to establish a Primary Care Trust (PCT) in Southend was considered against national criteria. Local consultation was carried out by South Essex Health Authority in accordance with the requirements set out in the Primary Care Trusts (Consultation on Establishment, Dissolution and Transfer of Staff) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999–2337). The resulting consultation report indicated that broad local support was evident for the Southend PCT application.
A recent letter, which approves the establishment of Southend PCT, clearly sets out an expectation that the PCT will be able to demonstrate an increased level of support and commitment from local general practitioners before becoming operational this April. In addition, all PCTs are expected to ensure that GPs, nurses and other front-line staff are fully engaged and committed to delivering the service improvements that PCT status will attain for their communities.