Primary Care Trusts (PCTs)
Last Updated: March, 2019

PCTs were local commissioning bodies that held funds to buy services for their local population. The  2012 Health and Social Care Act  replaced them with  Clinical Commissioning Groups .

PCTs began life as Primary Care Groups (PCGs) which were created around 1997. Prior to that (from 1990) the  NHS and Community Care Act  had made District Health Authorities and GP fundholders responsible for purchasing health services from hospitals, community health service providers and GPs. PCGs were made up of GPs and community health staff and their role was to 'advise' the District Health Authority on the commissioning of services for the patients they represented. In 2002 all the PCGs were converted to PCTs, and given more power to determine how ~75 percent of the local health budget would be spent, including for patients that they did not represent, namely hospital patients. This is not something that GPs and community health service staff are best placed to do. But at the same time (in 2002) District Health Authorities were replaced with a smaller number of  Strategic Health Authorities  (totalling 28); part of their job was to advise the PCTs on how to spend their budgets.