Published: 11/08/2005, Volume II5, No. 5967 Page 6

Public health trusts, which may commission local services in an attempt to bring choice and contestability into health improvement for the first time, could soon be established in two areas of the country.

West Yorkshire strategic health authority chief executive Mike Farrar said he was considering establishing public health trusts on his patch.

They would bring together primary care and local authority managers to review 'the capability and capacity to deliver public health targets'.

He said that the 'key thing is to have management dedicated to health improvement with a possibility of joint governance between the PCT and local government, but with dedicated senior management and an accountable chief executive'.

Poole primary care trust director of public health Adrian Dawson said that both Poole and Bournemouth PCTs were also considering the idea of a public health trust which could, for example, commission services for sexual health or smoking cessation.

Mr Dawson said that such a trust would be 'wider than just the old health communities; it would involve the voluntary sector and GP practices as well transport and the environment'. He said there could be 'pooled budgets in the longer term'.