Speaking at the BMA's Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) in Brighton on Wednesday, health secretary Andrew Lansley said that general practice should see itself at the heart of delivering quality and outcomes for patients.
He said the payment system for commissioning will be ‘geared towards quality and outcomes, not simply activity’.
The same focus on quality measures should also be part of the how the Care Quality Commission inspects organisations, Mr Lansley added.
He said: ‘At every stage in this pathway the same agreed, evidence-based measures of quality are part of the commissioning process.
‘They should be the basis on which payment is structured, and should be the basis on which quality inspection takes place. An alignment of incentives on the basis of what constitutes quality is central to making this happen.’
Mr Lansley also outlined that GPs could commission services as individual practices, or as consortia.
He said: ‘It [commissioning] comprises not only the day-to-day commissioning of services for individual patients on individual practice lists, but actually the collective responsibility for commissioning services in an area.
'I am giving power increasingly to patients to exercise more choice, to GPs to commission services in their locality and to be accountable for the results that are being achieved.'