GPC says 'don't panic' over White Paper

Doctors should not panic about the changes outlined in the White Paper, the GPC chairman has urged.

Dr Laurence Buckman (pictured) said he has heard reports of some PCTs telling their GP to ‘get on with it’, after the White Paper outlined PCTs will be abolished and GPs handed commissioning responsibility. But he called for GPs to ‘not rush into anything’ and said there was still a ‘long way to go.’

‘There are many hurdles to go,' he said. 'GPs don’t need to start doing anything now, they don’t have to go and get themselves organised now. They don’t have to break into consortia now.’

Dr Buckman criticised the White Paper for its lack of detail, outlining that ‘every paragraph begs more questions than it answered’. But he said the government was set to publish further guidance on commissioning within the next two weeks, which would ‘embellish’ the commissioning plans set out already.

Dr Buckman also allayed GP concerns that the commissioning budget and the contract budget for GMS and PMS will be merged together.

‘There are GPs who are worried that if they get involved in commissioning this is going to somehow flow backwards and forwards into their practice contract budget,' he said. 'And there is no suggestion that should happen.'

He added: ‘We have asked the Secretary of State quite a few times about whether the two budgets can leak into each other, and he at the moment is saying: "No they can’t".’

Editors' blog:  The White Paper and out-of-hours: a tough new job for GPs

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