Lansley to hand GPs greater freedom

The GP contract will be simplified to free GPs from DoH and NHS management interference, health secretary Andrew Lansley has said.

Mr Lansley: says DoH micromanagement has become 'absurd' (Photograph: Emilie Sandy)
Mr Lansley: says DoH micromanagement has become 'absurd' (Photograph: Emilie Sandy)

In an exclusive interview with GP, Mr Lansley said the NHS Commissioning Board - which will hold primary care contracts - 'will not behave like PCTs', and will allow practices greater freedom.

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The level of DoH micromanagement in the existing contract has become 'absurd', said Mr Lansley, who described extended hours as 'madness'.

Mr Lansley said: 'We are expecting a greater clarity of the outcomes we are looking for and, subject to practices maintaining financial control, we expect greater freedom.'

Although changes to the 2011/12 contract are expected to be minor, Mr Lansley says a move to a single GP contract will bring 'clarity and simplicity' to primary care.

The new contract should encourage GPs to build their own services but without interference from managers, he said.

'We're looking for general practice to take responsibility themselves. In a locality every practice should have the opportunity to structure the nature of services they are providing in a way which is often a characteristic of PMS contracts as opposed to GMS contracts.'

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey urged Mr Lansley to end PCT micromanagement straight away.

'Many PCTs are continuing to act in this way, particularly with respect to reviewing PMS contracts,' he said.

'I hope we don't have to wait for the NHS Commissioning Board to be formed before his welcome aspirations become a reality.'

Mr Lansley said the board's performance management would be as 'light touch' as possible, with consortia effectively policing themselves.

But it will have the power to take over failing consortia, reappoint interim management or 'instruct neighbouring consortia to take over', he added.

The health secretary also ruled out rumours that revalidation is to be scrapped. He said he wanted to see the results of pilots to ensure the system's benefits outweighed its costs. 'I want to ensure it does the job we want it to.'

More from the interview: Lansley backs GPs to transform NHS

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