§ Mr. Liddell-Grainger
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role PCTs will play in the new status health authorities. 
§ Mr. Hutton
From 1 April 2002, primary care trusts have taken on the majority of functions previously undertaken by health authorities. Subject to progress with the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill, the new health authorities that were established on 1 April 2002 will be re-designated as strategic health authorities, from around October 2002, with further functions devolved at that stage to primary care trusts.
The new health authorities have assumed some of the functions previously exercised by NHS Regional Offices. They are responsible for creating a strategic framework for the delivery of the NHS Plan locally; securing annual performance agreements with, and performance 673W managing, local NHS bodies, including primary care trusts and NHS Trusts; and building capacity and supporting performance improvement locally.
Primary care trusts are responsible for improving the health and well-being of the community, developing primary care, securing the provision of high quality services and integrating health and social care locally. Subject to legislation, primary care trusts will be given new powers and control over resources to shape and secure the provision of services across hospital, community and primary services and from the whole range of possible providers in public, private and voluntary sectors.
Primary care trusts will also be responsible for the delivery of the public health service at a local level. All primary care trusts will have a Director of Public Health appointed to their Boards who will lead a multi-disciplinary public health team. The style and approach of public health at a primary care trust level will be an operational one with a focus on community engagement and empowering frontline clinicians.