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Health Act 1999

New Schedule 5A

58.Paragraph 1 provides for the matters which must be specified in the PCT order, and should be read with the new section 16A.

59.Paragraph 2 allows for a preparatory period between the date of establishment of a Primary Care Trust and its operational date. During this period the Primary Care Trust will have limited powers to carry out activities in preparation for becoming fully operational. It is envisaged that the preparatory activities will include:

  • appointing members;

  • advertising for, recruiting and employing staff;

  • entering into contracts and NHS contracts; and

  • planning the internal arrangements for the day to day operation of the Primary Care Trust.

Health Authorities will be able to provide funding for Primary Care Trusts for such purposes, or settle bills incurred by them.

60.Paragraphs 4 to 7 provide for the membership of a Primary Care Trust. Each Primary Care Trust will have a chairman appointed by the Secretary of State and a number of members. Some of those members will be employees of the Trust, for example the Chief Executive. The members of the Primary Care Trust will be responsible for running the Trust and, in effect, will constitute its governing board. The detailed provisions for the membership and procedure of Primary Care Trusts will be set out in regulations made under the provisions in these paragraphs.

61.Paragraph 9 confers a power of direction on the Secretary of State which enables him to require Primary Care Trusts to loan their staff to other Primary Care Trusts, or to employ any person who is or was employed by another Primary Care Trust. It mirrors the provision for Health Authority staff under paragraph 10(3) of Schedule 5 to the 1977 Act. The power could be used in the event of a problem in a Primary Care Trust, where there is a short-term need for staff with particular expertise. The exercise of this power is subject to consultation by the Secretary of State with the member of staff involved or his representative body. These provisions will not detract from an employer’s duty to consult staff under other mechanisms (e.g. TUPE Regulations or General Whitley Council Regulations).

62.In particular circumstances, such as in cases of temporary emergency or where consultation has previously been fully carried out with the individual concerned, the Secretary of State may require a Primary Care Trust to make the services of its staff available to another Primary Care Trust without consulting with the member of staff concerned or his representative. Again this mirrors the provisions for Health Authorities in paragraph 11 of Schedule 5 to the 1977 Act. One example where it might be used would be if a Primary Care Trust employed an individual with specialist skills (e.g. public health skills in the case of an epidemic) which were needed in an emergency by a Primary Care Trust elsewhere in the country.

63.Paragraph 10 brings the staff of Primary Care Trusts within the scope of current powers in paragraph 10(2) of Schedule 5 to the 1977 Act. Under paragraph 10(2) the Secretary of State may make regulations in respect of the transfer of staff from one Health Authority to another and the arrangements under which Health Authority staff are made available to other Health Authorities or local authorities. Paragraph 10 of Schedule 5A therefore enables regulations to be made which provide for permanent staff transfers between Primary Care Trusts, for example where functions transfer from one Primary Care Trust to another. This paragraph also enables the Secretary of State to regulate any temporary arrangements under which Primary Care Trust staff are put at the disposal of other Primary Care Trusts (by direction under paragraph 9 of Schedule 5A) or local authorities. Primary Care Trusts would make their staff available to local authorities under the provisions of section 26(1)(b) and (3)(b) and (c) of the 1977 Act. Paragraph 11 of Schedule 4 to the Act extends these provisions so as to cover Primary Care Trust staff. The intention is to have as much freedom for movement of Primary Care Trust staff as is currently available for Health Authority staff and to facilitate partnership arrangements made under section 31 of the Act between Primary Care Trusts and local authorities. Before making regulations under paragraph 10(2) of Schedule 5 to the 1977, the Secretary of State has a duty to consult any individuals or their representative bodies who are, in his opinion, likely to be affected.

64.Paragraph 12 confers a general power on Primary Care Trusts to do things ancillary to their main functions. This includes a power to acquire land (which will enable them to obtain their own premises), to enter into contracts, and to accept gifts of money, land and other property. The latter power enables the Primary Care Trust to accept and administer charitable property, e.g. gifts of medical equipment donated by voluntary and charitable organisations, bequests of shares or gifts of vehicles.

65.Paragraph 13 concerns the enforcement of rights and liabilities. Where a function has been delegated to a Primary Care Trust the rights acquired and the liabilities incurred in the exercise of that function will be enforceable by or against that Primary Care Trust. A Primary Care Trust will therefore take legal proceedings in its own name, and will be sued in its own name, even though it is exercising functions delegated to it by a Health Authority. For example if a Primary Care Trust is providing services in the exercise of a function delegated to it by a Health Authority, a patient who is injured while receiving those services will bring legal proceedings against the Primary Care Trust rather than the Health Authority.

66.Paragraph 14 enables Primary Care Trusts to carry out and fund research activity, and make their staff and facilities available for that purpose. Funded from the NHS research and development budget (raised by levy on Health Authorities), the Primary Care Trust will be able to host clinical trials of a new drug or the evaluation of different treatments for e.g. chronic back conditions. NHS trusts have similar powers under paragraph 11 of Schedule 2 to the 1990 Act.

67.Paragraph 15 enables the Primary Care Trust to make staff available to assist the provision of education and training of NHS employees or prospective NHS employees, or persons employed (or to be employed) by local authorities to provide social care (section 63 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 concerns the provision of education and training to such persons). NHS trusts have similar powers under paragraph 12 of Schedule 2 to the 1990 Act.

68.Paragraphs 16 and 17 confer specific reporting duties on Primary Care Trusts. These paragraphs place duties on a Primary Care Trust to prepare and provide reports and information on its activities to the Health Authority to whom it is accountable, and to the Secretary of State. This will enable Health Authorities to monitor the performance of Primary Care Trusts in their area.

69.Paragraph 17 provides that regulations must require Primary Care Trusts to publicise their accounts, annual report, any auditor’s report pursuant to section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 and any other documents as may be specified in the regulations. The regulations will set out the manner in which and the times at which they must publicise such documents. Under this power the Secretary of State will be able to require any Primary Care Trust to hold a public meeting at which such documents shall be presented. This puts Primary Care Trusts on a similar footing to other NHS bodies.

70.Paragraph 19 provides for the exercise by Primary Care Trusts of powers of compulsory purchase and mirrors the provisions for other NHS bodies (e.g. NHS trusts: paragraph 26 of Schedule 2 to the 1990 Act). The exercise of these powers will be subject to the provisions of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981. The 1981 Act makes provision for the procedures which apply to the compulsory purchase of land by Government departments, local authorities and certain other public bodies, for example, requirements for a compulsory purchase order, the publication of notices and the holding of inquiries.

71.Paragraph 20 provides for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities on the dissolution of a Primary Care Trust. Whenever a Primary Care Trust is dissolved, section 1 of the National Health Service (Residual Liabilities) Act 1996 (as amended by paragraph 87 of Schedule 4 to the Act) will require the Secretary of State to exercise his powers so as to secure that all of the Primary Care Trust’s liabilities are dealt with.

72.Paragraphs 21 and 22 make provision for the transfer of property to Primary Care Trusts, similar to that in section 8 of the 1990 Act in respect of NHS trusts. The property which Primary Care Trusts will require in connection with the exercise of their functions will often already be under the ownership or management of the Secretary of State, Health Authorities or NHS trusts. Paragraph 21 gives the Secretary of State the power to make an order to transfer or provide for the transfer of such property, and the attached rights and liabilities, to Primary Care Trusts.

73.Paragraph 21(1)(b) is intended to cater, for example, for circumstances where property transfers from an NHS trust to a Primary Care Trust but the NHS trust wishes to continue using the property for the services it retains. In such a case, the Secretary of State might wish to create a right for the NHS trust to continue using the property transferred to the Primary Care Trust.

74.Property, rights and liabilities may need to be apportioned between the different parties, for example where a Primary Care Trust is to provide services previously provided by an NHS trust at premises held by the trust. Any such apportionment will be provided for in the transfer order. The order might provide, for example, that the Primary Care Trust and the NHS trust divide the rights and liabilities under a lease on premises which they both will use.

75.Where the transfer order provides for the transfer of land or assets held on lease from a third person, the transfer will be binding on that person, even though it would otherwise have required his consent. If, for example, the property to be transferred to the Primary Care Trust were a health clinic, leased by the NHS trust from a private company, the lease would automatically transfer to the Primary Care Trust without requiring the consent of the private company concerned. However, under such circumstances the Secretary of State must make appropriate provisions to safeguard the interests of third parties, including, where appropriate, the payment of compensation.

76.Paragraphs 23 to 26 provide for the transfer of staff to a Primary Care Trust. This will frequently occur when a Primary Care Trust is established.

77.Paragraph 23 confers on the Secretary of State a power to transfer by order staff from a Health Authority, NHS trust or another Primary Care Trust. The exercise of this power is subject to consultation by the Secretary of State with the staff involved.

78.Paragraph 24 provides for safeguarding the terms and conditions of service of staff transferring by order to a Primary Care Trust. This will ensure that such a member of staff retains his existing terms and conditions of employment, that the contract of employment with the Primary Care Trust is regarded as a continuation of the employee’s original contract and that he maintains any rights, powers, duties and liabilities he has under that original contract. Where a member of staff declines to transfer to the Primary Care Trust he will not be treated as having been dismissed. Where there is a change in his terms or conditions of employment that is both significant and to his disadvantage, nothing in these provisions will remove any right he has to terminate his contract.

79.Where staff who are to be transferred are to remain working for part of their time at the original Health Authority, NHS trust or original Primary Care Trust, in addition to working at the Primary Care Trust to which they are to be transferred, paragraph 25 enables an order under paragraph 23 to provide that the person’s contract is be divided into two separate contracts (one with the original employer, the second with the new Primary Care Trust). This will safeguard the employee’s terms and conditions of service.

80.Paragraph 26 gives the Secretary of State the power to transfer staff from a dissolved Primary Care Trust, but only after consulting the staff involved or their representatives. These consultation requirements will be set out in regulations under paragraph 20(2). In these circumstances the terms and conditions of employment will be similarly protected.

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