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Pathfinders identified to lead NHS reforms

The first groups of GPs who will take the lead in the Government’s plans for commissioning health services were announced today by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.


The 52 groups of GP practices from across England have been selected to be the first to take on commissioning responsibilities as part of the Government’s plans set out in the NHS White Paper Liberating the NHS: Equity and Excellence. The groups selected, known as pathfinders, will work together to manage their local budgets and commission services for patients direct with other NHS colleagues and local authorities.


The pathfinders will now begin testing the new commissioning arrangements to ensure they are working well before arrangements that are more formal come into place. By being in charge of the decisions that affect their patients, the pathfinders will be able to commission high quality care that is tailored to the specific needs of their patients and the wider community.


The GP pathfinders announced today include 1860 GP practices that provide healthcare to 12.8 million people across England. This means around a quarter of the population can start to benefit from their doctors’ proven clinical leadership, good partnership working with local authorities, and innovative ways of engaging with patients and the local community. This is just the start - more GP consortia have come forward to join the pathfinder programme which will enable as many consortia as possible to test out the new arrangements at an early stage before GP consortia take on statutory responsibilities from April 2013.


[quote top=Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:] We want to create an NHS that puts patients at the heart of everything it does and is focused on achieving health outcomes that are amongst the best in the world. [/quote]


He continued to comment: “Already leading the way and making this happen are the GPs selected to be pathfinders. I am delighted by the response and the evident enthusiasm for taking these ideas forward. They have demonstrated an enthusiasm and excitement for change and shown that there are many GPs ready and willing to take on commissioning responsibilities, so they can make the decisions that better meet the needs of their local communities and improve outcomes for their patients. This first wave of pathfinders are just the start, many more GPs have already come forward to be included in the rolling programme of approved pathfinders and more will be announced in the coming weeks and months."