A NEW era for health care in the Huddersfield area has been welcomed by Rob Napier, chairman of the new Kirklees Primary Care Trust (PCT).
He was speaking after the inaugural board meeting of the new body, which includes the three Primary Care Trusts for Central and South Huddersfield and North Kirklees.
The meeting took place at St Luke's House in Huddersfield, the new PCT's interim home.
Mr Napier welcomed the fresh start.
He said: "This gives us the chance to sharpen up our act.
"It will be a simpler way of running the health service and lead to economies of scale."
Kirklees PCT will be responsible for the health of about 402,000 people with an annual budget of £483m.
It will oversee 76 GP surgeries in the Kirklees area, as well as 66 dental practices, 80 pharmacies and 48 optometry practices.
The latest health reorganisation represents a return to a Kirklees-wide body for such services, once run by a Kirklees Family Health Services Authority.
Mr Napier hopes serving the same area as Kirklees Council will help.
He said: "We hope we can improve the delivery of health services by working closely with the council.
Mr Napier was chairman of Huddersfield Central PCT since February 2002.
He retired in 2001 from the post of chief executive of Calderdale and Kirklees Training and Enterprise Council, where he had worked since 1989.
He formerly worked for the Manpower Services Commission and in a range of posts at the Department of Employment and Manpower Services Commission, in Sheffield.