The Black Country Cluster was formally established on 1 April 2011 and brought together, under a single senior management structure, four Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) – NHS Dudley, Sandwell PCT, NHS Walsall and Wolverhampton City PCT.
The Cluster serves a population of more than 1 million people and controls an annual healthcare commissioning budget of around £2 billion.
As the NHS works through a period of major change, we have two main roles to fulfil in the period leading up to the abolition of PCTs (scheduled for the end of March 2013)
Securing resilience, leadership and continuing delivery: Ensuring that throughout the transitional year 2012/13, its constituent PCTs retain the management capacity to remain focussed on priorities for planning, developing and delivering safe, high quality healthcare services for local people, and to provide leadership for the staff who have to deliver this vital work.
The Cluster’s aims and objectives for 2012/13 and beyond are set out in our System Plan. Clinicians and managers from the Black Country’s four PCTs and the emerging organisations which will succeed PCTs have worked together on the latest version of the Black Country- wide ‘System Plan’ which sets out in detail how all organisations in the local health economy will work together to rise to the challenges of the coming years. This requires not only a major transformation of NHS structures but also some significant redesigns of health services.
Managing the transformation: The NHS is currently going through one of the biggest reorganisations in its history and while remaining focussed on the job in hand – with a particular emphasis on safety and quality – the Cluster also has to prepare for the transition to the new NHS landscape as set out in the Health and Social Care Act.
- Helping Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) prepare for taking over the bulk of the budget for commissioning local health services.
- Developing commissioning support services for those CCGs
- Working with local authorities to prepare for the handover to them of the Public Health function.
- Playing an active role in the development of local Health and Wellbeing Boards
- Contributing to the implementation of regional/local structures for the National Commissioning Board.
- Supporting local provider organisations which have yet to gain Foundation Trust (FT) status in moving their applications on.