However Dr Mike Bewick, speaking at the National Association of Primary Care’s Best Practice event in Birmingham on Wednesday, hinted that it could happen in the future.
Dr Johnny Marshall, NHS Confederation policy director, said the failure to give CCGs this power risked quality and safety and caused fragmentation.
Dr Bewick cited concerns over conflicts of interest as a reason not to hand control to CCGs, but said the groups should be involved in managing the contracts.
He added: ‘It would be impossible [for CCGs to commission primary care] immediately.’
But Dr Bewick hinted that the change could be evolutionary. ‘It has to be done in partnership. I don’t think the time is right for that to happen yet.’