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Tories rule out GP ‘windfall’ for taking on commissioning

By Ian Quinn

Exclusive: The Conservatives have said there would be no major new ‘windfall’ for GPs to take on commissioning of primary care services.

Talks have begun between shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley and BMA leaders about how the GP contract would be rewritten if the Tories win the election.

But the party has ruled out big new sums being provided for the extra responsibility, which is a key part of its NHS blueprint. It comes as more details emerged of the Tory plans, and as a Pulse survey showed mixed views on them among GPs.

The Conservatives have revealed GPs would be expected to operate in commissioning clusters covering populations of between 100,000 to 150,000 patients, with real budgets guaranteed.

A spokesperson revealed it expected the new contract to take up to two years to introduce. The Tories have employed former Tony Blair adviser Professor David Kerr, a professor of cancer medicine at the University of Oxford, to help oversea the process, claiming it will slash top-down targets and make GPs the ‘cornerstone’ of decision making.

The spokesperson said: ‘Talks have begun with the BMA about how the new contract would work but we’ve not announced yet about how the funding will work. I don’t think GPs can expect any major windfall.’

In a Pulse survey of 370 GPs, 49% backed the option of access to real budgets, compared with 34% who opposed it. But only 35% supported GPs taking contractual responsibility for commissioning, with 44% against.

The Tories have ruled out a ‘windfall’ for GPs for taking on commissioning Follow the latest with Pulse’s election tracker Pulse election coverage