A PRIMARY CARE TRUST is a legal entity, set up by order of the Secretary of State. It is a free-standing NHS body, performance managed by a STRATEGIC HEALTH AUTHORITY.

The overall function of a Primary Care Trust is to improve the health of the responsible population, develop primary and community health services, and commission secondary care services. A Primary Care Trust will, if it so wishes and is capable of doing so, be able to provide directly a range of community health services, creating new opportunities to integrate primary and community health services as well as health and social care provision.

The PCT's responsible population comprises:

- all persons registered with a GP whose practice forms part of the PCT, regardless of where the person is resident, plus
- any persons not registered with a GP who are resident within the PCT's statutory geographical boundary

Note that persons resident within the PCT geographical area, but registered with a GP belonging to another PCT, are the responsibility of that other PCT.

With "Shifting the Balance of Power", Primary Care Trusts will be the leading NHS organisation for partnership with Local Authorities and a range of other partners, including NHS Trusts, Strategic Health Authorities and a range of other Primary Care Trusts and local communities to improve health and deliver wider objectives for social and economic regeneration.

PRIMARY CARE TRUSTS provide some services themselves and others through agreement with other organisations. Several PRIMARY CARE TRUSTS may decide to work together to provide certain services. In this case a lead Primary Care Trust will be identified for the group.

There may be occasions when relationships are formed on a larger scale. For example the provision of a highly specialised service, such as specialist cancer or spinal injury services, may be done collaboratively across a population larger even than strategic health authority.

Department of Health Booklet "Primary Care Trusts: Establishing Better Services" (Ref. PCT1), issued April 1999. Shifting the Balance of Power publications.

This class is also known by these names:

Context Alias