TWO of the region's most experienced social services bosses are to run new NHS primary care trusts.

The move underlines the increasingly close working links between the NHS and social services as the Government seeks to modernise the overlapping systems of health and social care.

Colin Morris, director of Darlington social services since 1996, is chief executive designate of Darlington Primary Care Trust.

Nigel Porter, deputy director of social services for Durham County Council since 1996, has been named as chief executive designate of Sedgefield Primary Trust.

Appointments have been made to all eight trusts in the county, which take over from primary care groups on April 1. They bring together GPs, nurses and other interested bodies, including local councils, to plan, provide and develop health services.

Andrew Young, director of planning and deputy chief executive of County Durham and Darlington Health Authority is chief executive designate of Durham and Chester-le-Street Primary Care Trust. Andrew Kenworthy, executive director of performance development at Calderdale and Kirklees Health Authority, is chief executive designate of Durham Dales Primary Care Trust.

Elsewhere, Dr Roger Bolas, chief executive of Easington Primary Care Group, John Chadwick, chief executive of Langbaurgh Primary Care Group and Wynn Griffiths, chief executive of Derwentside Primary Care Group, have been confirmed as chief executive designates of their appropriate trust.

Ken Jarrold, chief executive designate for the new County Durham and Tees Valley Health Authority, said: "This is a crucial moment in shifting the balance of power to frontline NHS staff. I am delighted that a very strong group of chief executives has been appointed to the trusts."