The Department of Health has backed away from proposals to give primary care trusts complete autonomy to set policies on NHS funding for continuing care.
The DoH said strategic health authorities will manage PCTs' performance on implementing a new national framework on funding. But they will not be given full responsibility to implement the framework as originally proposed.
The decision has been taken following concerns that 'local interpretation could lead to inconsistency or a lack of accountability, and PCTs might have conflict of interests'.
Forty-nine per cent of respondents to last year's consultation on the framework said they did not agree with giving PCTs full responsibility.
However, SHAs will lose their power to set local eligibility criteria, which will fall to PCTs. From 1 October all decisions will have to adhere to guidance published this week.