Exclusive NHS England will continue to negotiate national GP contracts when ICSs take control of local commissioning next year, it has told Pulse.
But it had made no mention of future commissioning responsibility for GMS, PMS and APMS contracts.
In a recent session with the House of Commons health and social care committee NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the proposed changes to the Health and Social Care Act would ‘formalise’ devolution of primary care commissioning powers already handed to CCGs in recent years.
And NHS England told Pulse that it has ‘recommended’ that the Government ‘build on’ this by ‘allowing for continued delegation and transfer of functions’ going forward.
But a spokesperson added: ‘Regardless of who the commissioner is, NHS England will continue to have a role in setting national standards and service specifications, maintaining nationally mandated contracts to ensure consistency across the country, and taking account of the nationally agreed GMS contract, just as now.’
The BMA has previously warned that the plans to replace CCGs with ICSs, which have a larger footprint and are not GP-led, is ‘of major concern’ to GPs.
But BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse he expects the BMA to continue to negotiate the GP contract with NHS England.
He said: ‘As the representatives of GPs and practices across England, the BMA will continue to negotiate the national aspects of contracts and services to ensure consistency for GPs, their teams and patients across the country.
‘The BMA will also continue to be involved in local discussions, along with LMCs and practices themselves.’
On 9 March, Sir Simon told MPs on the health committee: ‘Bringing together the whole ability to plan and fund for a population – that’s what this Act – if passed – would formalise.’
It comes as NHS England announced last week that the final 13 STPs remaining in England, which serve 14.9 million people, will formally become ICSs on April 1, bringing the total number up to 42.