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Local authority role to end ‘democratic deficit’

The central role of local authorities is emerging as a key force that GP commissioners will have to engage with.

At the recent Liberal Democrat conference, health minister Paul Burstow told delegates the power of local authorities to hold GPs to account was a prime example of how the white paper had been influenced by Liberal Democrat policies.

He described the move as ‘an end to the democratic deficit in health decision-making.'

‘Consortia will be accountable to me and to the Secretary of State through the mandate we will agree with the NHS Commissioning Board which will hold consortia to account for delivering on our priorities through our outcomes framework.'

At a recent health select committee hearing, Mr Lansley said: ‘The most significant statement in the white paper is not that we are going to have GP commissioning but that we are going to ally it with a strategic role for local authorities.'