The Department of Health has approved plans for NHS Blackburn with Darwen to become a care trust plus.

The new organisation will operate from 1 April, combining the commissioning role of the primary care trust with the adult and child social care commissioning function of the local council.

We’re not just saying we like each other, we’re bedding this down in firm business plans

North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus became the first care trust plus when it was created in September 2007. There are a further eight care trusts, including Torbay and Solihull.  

But Blackburn with Darwen will be the first care trust to have responsibility for children’s social care commissioning.  

PCT chief executive Judith Griffin said the integration of the commissioning functions was the “logical next step” following 10 years of close working between the two organisations.  

She said: “We’re not just saying we like each other, we’re bedding this down in firm business plans.”

She added that approval of the care trust plus would “get everybody fired up” to address the health inequalities in the area, which is one of the most deprived boroughs in country.

The new organisation would “allow focus on the wellbeing and prevention agenda”. “It’s absolutely about improving outcomes,” said Ms Griffin.

Referring to last week’s report on health inequalities by Sir Michael Marmot, she said: “We’re very well placed to respond and drive forward on this agenda.”

She added: “When you look at Marmot, we’ve got to work closely in partnership.”

She said Blackburn with Darwen Care Trust Plus would be a small organisation with around 250 staff, once it had split from its provider arm. Its board would be chaired by council leader Bill Taylor and include three councillors from each of the major parties.