Lansley impresses GPs as consortia bid to federate

The majority of consortia in Mid Mersey, where health secretary Andrew Lansley spoke, plan to apply for 'pathfinder status' and are likely to form a huge federation covering up to 750,000 patients.

Dr Kinloch: encouraged by the health secretary's visit (Photograph: JH Lancy)

Dr Martin Breach, a GP in St Helens, Merseyside, said there was a large number of 'very well managed consortia' in the area. He said it was 'an impressive performance' by the health secretary, as he faced questions from around 300 GPs who 'are still rather sceptical'.

Representatives from local consortia covering as few as seven practices spoke at the conference and asked Mr Lansley questions.

Mr Lansley admitted quickly that 'there are questions I can't answer' where policy decisions were still being worked out, such as how large consortia's management allowance will be, and what functions they will perform.

Dr Andrew Davies, a local GP, called for a limit to the number of functions passed over to consortia to prevent further duties 'being slipped in down the line'.

Dr David Evans, a GP in Runcorn, was concerned a PFI hospital near in his consortia's patch was a 'millstone round our necks' and was 'colouring the views about consortia working together'.

But GPs largely were supportive of the plans and encouraged by Mr Lansley's visit.

Dr Tom Kinloch, chairman of Mid Mersey LMC, said 'a lot of the flavour in this room was for small consortia progressing on their own'.

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