He said GPs would be supported throughout the transition period with the management resources, information, and commissioning guidance that they needed to succeed.
But he warned that inherited PCT contracts could not be rescinded, new consortia may have to take on existing deficits, and failing consortia would be disbanded.
Mr Lansley, who was speaking to more than 500 GPs at the RCGP’s annual conference in Harrogate, said he would free GPs from the ‘dead hand’ of Whitehall and local micro-management.
‘I know that you can organise the NHS from the bottom up far better than I can from the top down. But I do not want to turn you in to managers. What I want is your leadership and expert judgment, and for you to work with patients.’
Mr Lansley said GPs would not be expected to ration care in the surgery: ‘It would be unacceptable for the rationing of limited resources to take place at that level. It’s not for individual GPs to decide.’
He said he would put in place a payment mechanism for secondary care based on outcomes that would give GP consortia a ‘powerful lever’ to commission services.
GPs would be well-supported to meet the timescales set down in the White Paper, and some would be allowed to move faster if they were ready.
‘We have to be clear about our strategy, then implement it with purpose and pace. But we still have two and a half years to resolve issues and support practices and consortia.’
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