Talking to GP, Dr Michael Dixon said he expected the DoH’s pathfinder programme for GP consortia to move quickly.
Around a quarter of England’s population is already covered by pathfinders, after the scheme launched yesterday. But Dr Dixon said he expected coverage to double by the end of the summer.
Dr Dixon said: ‘The starting gun has gone off. This is the end of the talk and the business now begins. The process is now unstoppable. My prediction is that we might have half of the country covered by pathfinders by the end of the summer.’
But Dr Dixon urged GPs to ensure they do the right planning and get the right relationships, geography and groups before they rush to become pathfinders.
Meanwhile, he said the launch of the pathfinder programme and the introduction of the public health White Paper last week confirms that the delay of the health bill has been for technical reasons.
He said: ‘There were suggestions that the health bill was delayed because of real doubts behind the scenes in government. But I think the launch of pathfinders and health White Paper amount to confirmation that delay of health bill is a technicality and not anything insidious behind the scenes.
‘My prediction is that the bill will have started its passage through Parliament by end of January.’