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Lansley says no U-turn on commissioning plans

By Ian Quinn

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said there will be no turning back from his plan to transfer commissioning responsibility from PCTs to GP consortia, despite a call from the BMA to do so.

Responding to the association's response to the Government's white paper consultation, which was published earleir today, Mr Lansley said it was vital resources were managed by GPs not managers detached from the frontline.

He added that he believed many GPs were keen to get on with the job of taking over from PCTs, despite the many fears raised in the BMA's response.

The health secretary said: 'I welcome the BMA's response to the White Paper. They agree that general practice-led commissioning is the best place to manage patient care. Doctors are clear through the BMA that the way forward is to focus on patients, on outcomes, and on devolved decision-making.'

The BMA has warned the decision to scrap PCTs will lead to huge transition costs and remove organisational memory from the NHS, at a time when it is already struggling to cope because of the financial crisis.

But Mr Lansley said: ‘If we're going to manage resources more effectively, the clinicians that are making the biggest decisions with the biggest impact — referral and prescribing — need to be the same clinicians who know best how two things come together.

‘We need a healthcare system where the management of the care of patients, is combined with an understanding of how resources are used. Healthcare professionals are best placed to do this and know where resource is needed to improve outcomes for patients.'

He added: ‘There are many GPs across the country who are keen to make the transition quickly, others want to know more about how it's going to work before they implement it. This is what the consultation process is about, everyone coming forward to say how we can make this work.'

Andrew Lansley: GPs best placed to manage NHS spending Andrew Lansley: GPs best placed to manage NHS spending The Commissioning Countdown… Are you prepared?

The clock is ticking the end of the consultation on proposals on next Monday for the health white paper - Liberating the NHS: commissioning for patients. With the end looming, there is still a huge amount of uncertainty within the healthcare community, with questions being thrown up around the work and responsibilities that will be involved in the ‘new' NHS.

Come to the NAPC Annual Conference to hear from Andrew Lansley, secretary of state for health and help answer your pressing questions.

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