The Fairness in Primary Care Procurement programme will be rolled out in three waves, the first by the end of this month and covering four areas, a second by the end of May and a third by the end of the year.
England's most under-doctored areas will be targeted, with the aim of including all 30 areas listed in last year's primary care White Paper as having the lowest level of GPs per 100,000 population.
A DoH spokesman said that only PCTs that were financially ‘ready' would be able to implement the contracts, which were to be funded locally.
A number of private providers have shown an interest in the contracts, although those without direct healthcare experience will be expected to bid in partnership with GPs or private medical firms.
This expansion of the APMS initiative follows a pilot launched last year with mixed success in Plymouth, Liverpool, Lancashire, Yorkshire and London.