The NHS Bodies and Local Authorities Partnership Arrangements Regulations 2000 have been updated following the coming into force of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (by Regulation 12 of the NHS Bodies and Local Authorities (Partnership Arrangements, Care Trusts, Public Health and Local Healthwatch) Regulations 2012).
The amendments are mainly to address changes that need to be made by reason of the NHS reforms and are not substantive in nature.
References to the old NHS Act 1977 have finally been removed as have references to the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 (but only in the context of the definition of an ‘NHS contract’) and replaced with a definition of the NHS Act 2006. A definition of the NHS Commissioning Board has also been inserted.
Unsurprisingly the list of prescribed NHS bodies has been changed to remove primary care trusts and to insert CCGs and the Board. It follows that references to PCT health improvement plans have also been removed and so NHS/local authority partnership arrangements are no longer required to fulfil the objectives of those plans.
Local authority public health functions have been added to the list of health-related functions of local authorities which can be the subject of a section 75 partnership agreement.
Finally however, information sharing arrangements between NHS bodies and local authorities have been added to the list of matters which must be dealt with in section 75 agreements as set out in Regulation 8, whether the local authority is to exercise an NHS function or the NHS body is to exercise a health-related function of the local authority. This change came into effect on 1 April 2013 and so new section 75 agreements entered into after this date must include such provisions. It would also be advisable to review older section 75 agreements, which may have been transferred from the old PCTs to CCGs, to check that they include appropriate information sharing provisions. Where they do not the parties should consider whether information sharing provisions should be added by way of a variation to the original agreement.