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GP Commissioning Consortia are groups of GP practices working with other health professionals, local communities and local authorities to commission NHS services for their patients. Each consortium must have an accountable officer who is responsible for the financial and clinical performance of the consortium to the new NHS Commissioning Board. As envisaged by the health White Paper - ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS', consortia will become statutory bodies and take over NHS commissioning budgets from primary care trusts in April 2013, assuming shadow form in April 2012.

Even before the legislation is in place to establish consortia the coalition Government took the initiative to set up a Pathfinder consortium scheme - now on its fourth wave - with the result that pathfinder consortia already cover nearly 90% of patients in England.