STRUCTURE: NHS Somerset will transfer responsibility for a quarter of its budget to the local GP consortium by the end of the year.

The primary care trust has agreed three priority areas for delegation to the county wide consortium, beginning with the £4.5m practice based commissioning budget which the consortium will assume responsibility for as soon as it is established as a sub committee of the primary care trust.

This will be followed by the £75m medicines management budget on 1 August followed by the £120m contract for community and mental health services with Somerset Partnership Foundation Trust on 1 October.

The consortium, which comprises nine locality based federations, will then take on responsibility for £22.9m of acute services from the Royal United Hospital Bath on December 1. The RUHB is the smallest of the primary care trust’s acute contracts. Contracts with Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust, Yeovil District Hospital Foundation Trust, and Weston Area Health Trust worth a total of £285.2m will be handed over from April 2012.

The delegation timetable has been designed so that all commissioning functions are transferred to the consortium ahead of April 2013 when PCTs are due to be abolished, however a report to the board acknowledges this may change.