The latest Barometer survey of primary care trust chief executives showed growing confidence in negotiating power with acute providers, with the indicator score up again to 6.88 out of 10.
Twenty-nine per cent said their local relationship had got 'much better' in the past 12 months compared to 9 per cent in October. And 57 per cent of respondents had a confidence score of 5 out of 10 or more in the potential benefits of the new model contract in improving relationships.
The single biggest rise in confidence was on keeping increases in emergency activity below 3 per cent, up from 4.36 to 5.93 out of 10.
Meanwhile, confidence in breaking even at the at the end of the financial year continued to fall.
The Barometer survey is based on a panel of 90 PCT chief executives and is carried out every two months. The panel scores 1-10 against key indicators. It was set up in association with NHS Networks ( www.networks.nhs.uk).