GP consortia will be better at implementing NICE advice than PCTs, but improvements will take years to bear fruit, NICE's chairman believes.
Professor Sir Michael Rawlins said clinically-led consortia would be better placed than PCTs to put NICE recommendations into practice.
But he said the 'difficult' task of making major changes to commissioning could take years.
Speaking to GP at this month's NICE annual conference in Birmingham, Sir Michael said: 'Guidelines are more difficult to implement because often it's not a single intervention: there are a lot of things to be put in place. It may take time for that to happen.
'I would hope that consortia, even if they can't implement things straight away, will work out a timescale when they can implement a clinical guideline and get everything in order.'
He rejected suggestions that consortia could struggle to commission effectively if expertise was lost during the handover from PCTs to consortia.
'GPs are capable of doing this. They will be in a better position to implement guidance.'
Sir Michael also revealed that the institute would publish 60 'pathways' over the next year, bringing together existing guidance on specific diseases from diagnosis to treatment.
The online NICE Pathways tool aggregates advice from its technology appraisals, clinical guidelines, public health and social care advice, quality standards and implementation tools.
The tool was launched this month with 18 pathways, including ones for chronic heart failure, COPD, diabetes and stroke.