We anticipate that GPs will focus on the aspects of commissioning that will benefit most from their clinical expertise and understanding of patients’ needs. Only a minority of clinicians will play a hands-on, executive role in consortia. Moreover, they will be able to secure support services to assist with their administrative and commissioning duties.
Unlike the hon. Gentleman, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State actually understands the situation. It is not true that doctors see patients for only eight minutes; GPs see their patients for the length of time that they feel they should see them. The concept that GPs will have their time taken away from looking after patients to do commissioning is not right, because GPs will employ commissioners with expertise to work with them and do the commissioning for them, so that they can get on with looking after their patients.
With regard to the admin load of GPs, the Government correctly want to have better integration of health and social care. Why, therefore, are they creating GP consortia that are less coterminous with local authority boundaries than the existing primary care trusts? How will that help to deliver a better integrated health and social care system?