Six management teams have been appointed to manage the North East's 12 primary care trusts after fears that last year's mergers did not go far enough to encourage strong commissioning.

The final touches are being made to integrated management structures which will also see four hospital commissioning teams working across the area's 12 PCTs.

The moves come after the region's two former SHAs last year lost their bid to have the North East served by four PCTs under the Department of Health's Commissioning a Patient-led NHS reconfiguration. Instead, the number of PCTs was reduced from 16 to 12.

Local political figures led by former health secretary Alan Milburn, whose constituency is in County Durham, opposed the two former SHAs' reconfiguration proposals last year.

Positive developments

NHS North East chief executive David Flory said the new arrangements have strengthened commissioning and produced the£10m savings demanded by the DoH.

'We have seen positive developments in relation to the new arrangements, with stronger local delivery plans for 2007-08,' he said.

'The arrangements were proposed by the PCTs to ensure they were best placed to meet the requirements of Commissioning a Patient-led NHS. The SHA supports them.'

He added: 'The commissioning of hospital-based services from secondary care providers is carried out by four of the six senior management teams, to ensure the development of a more co-ordinated and robust approach across the whole North East area.'

The four commissioning clusters are North of Tyne, South of Tyne, Durham, and Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland.

The six PCT management teams include:

  • North Tyneside PCT, Newcastle PCT and Northumberland Care trust
  • Gateshead PCT, South Tyneside PCT and Sunderland PCT
  • North Tees PCT and Hartlepool PCT
  • Redcar and Cleveland PCT and Middlesbrough PCT
  • County Durham PCT
  • Darlington PCT.

The 12 PCTs have their own board, chair and non-executive directors.