GPs could be 'assigned' to consortia by 2012 as White Paper negotiations begin

GP practices will be 'assigned to consortia if necessary' by the new commissioning board by 2012.

The DoH’s White Paper Liberating the NHS sets out the new structure of the NHS and how commissioning responsibility will be transferred from PCTs to groups of GPs.

Click here for the full details of the NHS White Paper

Firstly, any practice with a registered list of patients will be required under legislation to be part of a GP consortium.

GP consortia will be allocated budgets by the new NHS Commissioning Board, based on the disease prevalence and disability of individual practices' lists. The commissioning board will hold the new consortia to account against the objectives set out in a new ‘commissioning outcomes framework.’

Each consortium will hold its constituent practices to account for ‘stewardship of NHS resources’.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said negotiations with the BMA would inform what is expected of GPs in terms of their contribution to the consortium.

The primary medical services GP practices provide will be commissioned by the Commissioning Board, to prevent GP consortia interfering with their own provider contracts.

The commissioning board will ‘assign’ a practice to a consortium if necessary to ensure GP consortia are ready to take over full financial responsibility for commissioning services by 2012.

Mr Lansley said he was not yet prepared to discuss ‘the carrots’ that would be used to incentivise GPs to lead GP consortia but did speak of ‘management fees’ that would be separate from practice income.

The health secretary did confirm however that it will not be possible ‘to profit from surplus’ nor will GPs be ‘personally liable’ for losses.

GP practices will move towards a single GP contract and a fairer funding model, according to the White Paper.

The health secretary said he had made ‘no estimate’ of the number of managerial job losses that the reforms would cause, or the extent to which private firms will be used by GPs to commission services.

The White Paper confirms that PCTs will be abolished by 2013. GP consortia in 'shadow form' should be ready by 2011/12, according to the White Paper.

Mr Lansley denied he had broken his pre-election promise that there would be ‘no top-down reconfiguration’ in the NHS.

Click here for the full details of the NHS White Paper

Click here to view health White Paper 2010 news and analysis

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