Hannigfield Continuing his series on localism, Lord Hanningfield, the Conservative leader of Essex County Council, says a link up between his council and Essex's Primary Care Trusts would mean a better service.

As part of our submission under the Sustainable Communities Act we have proposed an ambitious programme of local integration between the council and the local health sector. We propose a transfer of responsibility from the Government over the commissioning of non-emergency patient transport services (PTS), which would see Essex PCTs and ECC become jointly responsible for the commissioning of these services.

PTS are currently commissioned on behalf of residents by each of the five Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in Essex. However, we wish to explore opportunities for greater integration between health and social care transportation and – in time – with local public transport services.

The County Council’s Passenger Transport function already provides transport for a range of social services. Therefore we propose that responsibility for PTS is transferred from Primary Care Trusts to Essex County Council. This will allow our health partners to focus on what they do best – offering health services.

Furthermore we expect a single pan-Essex mechanism for managing PTS in Essex will provide a more equitable and efficient service as well as improvements in customers’ experience and increased service

At Essex County Council we seek to secure the best quality of life for our residents and to provide excellent services though out the county, which is the motivation behind this proposal.

> In the previous entry to this series Lord Hanningfield urged powers to hold local referenda

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