Lansley promises GPs an open road

 GP commissioners will start their new roles free of “legacy debts” and positioned to develop innovative care solutions, Andrew Lansley has said.

The Health Secretary reassured an audience of GPs at the Commissioning Show that CCGs would not need to “provide for deficits in the local health economy”: that would be the task of Monitor, he said.

Lansley’s speech placed strong emphasis on the need for NHS service innovation to deal with the coming “demographic tsunami”.

The NHS Outcomes Framework will “focus our minds” and “enable clinicians to lead, not be micro-managed from on high,” he said.

Addressing the fears of many GPs, he said the NHS Commissioning Board would not “top-slice” CCGs’ budgets or require them to be re-authorised once in action.

He intended to ensure that CCGs started with “no legacy debts”, though that would not be true of providers.

Echoing Malcolm Grant’s speech to the NHS Confederation last week, he said that “we do not want to tell you how to achieve” – though he did not mention the recently announced NHS CB guidelines on commissioning processes.

Lansley also cited the fall in GP referral rates as a positive achievement, without mentioning the National Audit Office’s recent statement that falling referral rates were harming diabetes care.

He highlighted the potential of GP-led commissioning to develop innovative care solutions such as telehealth, and to improve dialogue between GPs and local government.