Heading towards the end of the 2010-11, the financial situation for primary care trusts in the South East Coast differs markedly across the region.

NHS Surrey – the country’s second largest PCT – is forecasting a year end deficit of £19.9m - and its problems have not gone unnoticed.

Asked about the transfer of PCT staff to consortia at a Local Government Association conference this month, public health minister and Guildford MP Anne Milton said: “I doubt they will take on very many of the PCT staff because we haven’t performed very well.”

NHS West Sussex also faces a deficit, of £8.6m, NHS West Kent is looking at a £4.2m shortfall and NHS Medway may also be at risk of a deficit.

This compares with the £12m surplus predicted by NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent and the £4.6m by NHS Brighton and Hove. Smaller surpluses are also forecast by East Sussex Downs and Weald, and Hastings and Rother.

The reshaping of the local health economy is well underway with three PCT clusters due to form in April following county borders. Medway, West Kent and Eastern and Coastal Kent will form one cluster. Another will be made up of Brighton, West Sussex, East Sussex and Hastings and Rother, while NHS Surrey will form the third on its own.

Two new cluster chief executives have been announced: Amanda Fadero in Sussex and Ann Sutton in Kent and Medway.

A further 15 commissioning consortia pathfinders have been selected, joining the existing six.

Meanwhile GPs in Brighton, though yet to form consortia, have chosen mental health as their first commissioning area.

Over to the acute landscape in Kent, where a review of maternity services in the east is underway, while health secretary Andrew Lansley has rubber stamped proposals to centralise maternity services in the west.