Vince Cable has raised concerns that the NHS is “going against” the drive towards greater partnership with local government.
Commenting on the need for more joint working between local authorities and primary care trusts at the Local Government Association annual conference, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman said he was “worried” that the NHS would “go its own merry way”.
“The work of PCTs and local authorities overlaps so much, we should be talking about joint working in those cases. I worry that the NHS will go its own merry way as it so often does. They are going against that trend.
“I have seen examples recently in South West London of PCTs going for alliances and partnerships that cut across local government boundaries and make it much more difficult to get the co-operation that you need.”
However, he was complimentary about NHS services.
Mr Cable also called for the system under which councils are monitored and given star ratings by the Audit Commission to be scrapped.
The Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman and deputy leader told the Local Government Association annual conference that radical changes were needed and the “command and control” structure should be “dismantled”.
Making councils “compete for stars from an unelected quango” was “disrespectful” and “utterly perverse” he said.
Mr Cable added: “The best check on local government is the local electorate. So we want to scrap the system of central government target and control and plough the savings back into services and cutting local council tax.”