Consortia able to run GP contracts

The Health Bill paves the way for GP consortia to run primary care contracts, legal experts have confirmed.

Dr Michelle Drage: 'People need to see the full functions of consortia and the NHS Commissioning Board'
Dr Michelle Drage: 'People need to see the full functions of consortia and the NHS Commissioning Board'

Lynne Abbess, partner at Hempsons solicitors, said a clause allowing the NHS Commissioning Board to 'discharge' any of its functions to consortia meant the groups could run GP or even dental contracts.

After the publication of the White Paper, opinion was split over whether consortia should manage GP contracts.

Dr James Kingsland, the DoH national clinical commissioning network lead, said although the clause makes it possible, it is unlikely to happen at first. But he said advanced consortia may be passed responsibility for enhanced services and QOF.

Dr Michelle Drage, chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said details that 'everyone wants to see' are missing. 'People need to see the full functions of consortia and the NHS Commissioning Board. It just says that will be dealt with later,' she said.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said consortia would face 'significant problems' once practice boundaries are abolished.

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