The Liberal Democrats’ proposals for locally elected health boards have been incorporated into the government’s formal coalition agreement.

In the introduction to the coalition agreement, published today, prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg say: “In the crucial area of public service reform, we have found that Liberal Democrat and Conservative ideas are stronger combined.”

The pledge to have partially elected primary care trust boards does not go quite as far as the Lib Dem manifesto commitment on elected health boards - but is marker of the extent to which Liberal Democrat health policies have been brought together with Conservative plans.

The two party leaders wrote in the introduction to the agreement: “Take Conservative thinking on markets, choice and competition and add to it the Liberal Democrat belief in advancing democracy at a much more local level, and you have a united vision for the NHS that is truly radical.

“Together our ideas will bring an emphatic end to the bureaucracy, top-down control and centralisation that has so dimished our NHS.”

Before the election, the Lib Dems’ former health spokesman Norman Lamb told HSJ the commitment to turn primary care trusts into directly elected health boards would be its priority in any negotiations over policy in the event of a hung parliament.