GPS in Rotherham have formed a new executive group in preparation for major changes to the health service in 2013.
Under new Government guidelines, GPs will take over the responsibility of buying health services when primary care trusts are abolished in 2013.
In Rotherham, GPs have decided to begin preparation for the transition by forming a new Commissioning Executive which will run in tandem with the town’s PCT—NHS Rotherham.
Dr David Tooth, Rotherham GP and chairman of the Commissioning Executive said: “This is a huge challenge particularly against the current economic backdrop.
“We are fortunate that we have a sound health system in Rotherham with many good services and good financial management which provides us with an excellent base from which to start."
Under the existing system, PCTs commission or buy health services on behalf of people in Rotherham.
From 2013 GPs will take on that role with some of the £80 billion which will be available to them nationally.
The Commissioning Executive is made up of eight GPs representing views from family doctors across Rotherham and will report to the NHS Rotherham board initially.
Eventually the executive will report to the new National Commissioning Board which will be located in Leeds.
The aim of the transition period is to give GPs the opportunity to learn more about how the system works with the support of the team at NHS Rotherham before they take over.
Andy Buck, chief executive at NHS Rotherham, said: “We are pleased to be working with an excellent group of clinicians to undertake this important work and early discussions have been extremely positive.
“The running of the NHS is extremely complex and there will be a lot for the new Commissioning Executive to absorb.
“Therefore the next couple of years will be extremely important to ensure that the new GP management are equipped to carry out their full duties once they take the reins in April 2013.
“We have an excellent track record at NHS Rotherham and our staff have embraced the changes and are keen to support GPs in their new roles over the coming months.”