Directors of London primary care trusts lack confidence in the future development of and investment in community health services, according to a survey.

The poll, modelled on HSJ's Barometer survey of chief executives, heard responses from 27 of a possible 31 PCTs. It revealed that the only area in which provider directors felt confident was that their provider arms would break even by the end of the year.

Directors were asked to score how confident they were across 10 areas, including morale, securing extra money, contestability of provider services and the commissioning of services by practice-based commissioning clusters. The average score was 5 out of 10.

It was carried out by a new network funded by NHS London to give provider directors a stronger voice and enable them to share information. Confidence was at its lowest when it came to the national IT programme for community services, which scored an average of only 3.96 out of 10.

Joe Gannon, provider director of primary care for Westminster PCT, said: 'It has been a difficult year for community services. The overall average score was 5 out of 10, which I think is a fair reflection. The survey also shows that providers are on top of the budgets they are managing.'

The highest average confidence score - 8.5 - attached to the achievement of financial balance in provider arms by year end. Only one of 27 PCT provider directors felt their PCT would achieve significant progress towards public health white paper aims in the next 12 months.

An average score of 4.71 was attached to 'improving community staff morale in the next 12 months' and a score of 5.29 to achieving reductions in waiting times for speech and language therapy. Asked about achieving separate status as a provider by April 2008, directors' average confidence score was 4.7.

Mr Gannon said his own PCT was in talks with Partnership UK - a Treasury body that works with the public sector - about whether to split its commissioning and providing functions.