Joint commissioning of social care by primary care trusts and local authorities is likely to be made mandatory.

Care services minister Phil Hope said at a roundtable discussion last week that the forthcoming social care white paper would bring in measures to drive greater integration between health and social care.

Mr Hope said while the funding for carers was not ringfenced, PCTs ‘should be held to account’

For example, it was likely to include “mandating people to cooperate” via joint commissioning and joint performance frameworks.

He said “GPs and social care systems and acute care really need to be working together. Primary care trusts are a critical part of that of that commissioning process.”

He said: “There’s obviously lots of good examples but how do you make sure that’s happening more consistently across the whole system? That’s something else I think we need to address in the white paper.”

PCTs will also have to prove they are spending enough on supporting carers, Mr Hope said.

His comments came in the wake of complaints from carers’ charities last week that only 23 per cent of the £50m allocated to improving services for carers was actually spent on that.

Mr Hope said while the funding for carers was not ringfenced, PCTs “should be held to account” to ensure they gave carer support appropriate priority.