Burnham appeals for GP commissioning pilots and for PCTs to stay

Former health secretary Andy Burnham has called for GP commissioning to be piloted and for PCTs' abolition to be delayed.

Former health secretary Andy Burnham backs the BMA's response to the White Paper

In an open letter to his successor, health secretary Andrew Lansley, Mr Burnham says the plans are 'unacceptable' and suggests ways 'to avoid exposing the NHS to intolerable levels of risk'.

'I put to you a way forward on NHS reforms, in light of the fierce criticism that is emerging from professional bodies,' he writes.

Backing the BMA's response to the White Paper, the former health secretary calls for GP commissioning to be piloted and 'evidence to be gathered to make the argument for national roll out'.

He also calls for PCTs to remain in place for the 'medium term' rather than be abolished in 2013 as planned.

Making the White Paper a Green Paper would delay the plans by a year and allow time for further discussion, writes Mr Burnham.

The letter comes days after Mr Burnham warned Prime Minister David Cameron to prepare for the 'fight of his life' over the NHS reforms at the Labour conference in Manchester.

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