Primary care trust chief executives expect continuing wrangles over negotiating contracts with acute trusts, according to the latest Barometer survey.
Almost half of PCT chiefs expected to have at least one contract outstanding by the end of March, with 9 per cent saying they were likely to be in dispute with more than four acute trusts.
However, overall confidence in acute-PCT relationships was high with 78 per cent saying relationships had got better in the last 12 months, compared with 55 per cent in January's survey.
Confidence in PCTs ability to negotiate with acute trusts also continues to rise, up to 7.48 out of ten compared with 6.88 in January.
The Barometer survey is based on a panel of 90 PCT chief executives and is carried out every two months. The panel gives a score of 1 to 10 against key indicators. It was set up in association with NHS Networks (www.networks.nhs.uk)