The DH is considering handing GP commissioners 'multi-year' budgets following a recommendation from the NHS Future Forum.
A report by the independent advisory group released today (Tuesday 10th December) found it to be "difficult" for local commissioners within "annual cycles" to show benefits or value from new commissioning arrangements.
It is claimed CCGs should receive multi-year budgets in order to allow them the time to plan, commission and invest in longer-term, sustainable solutions.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley wasted no time in accepting the recommendation in principle but said the issue may need to be considered again.
"We support the Forum's recommendation regarding financial certainty for CCGs," said Lansley.
"Providing greater planning certainty over future budgets is right in principle but providing future year certainty requires the new organisational budgets to have settled in.
"So, while right in principle, multi-year settlements need to be considered again as that happens."
Lansley said the NHS Commissioning Board may consider indicative multi-year settlements that are confirmed or altered on a yearly basis.
While it is said there is "considerable appetite" among CCGs to develop innovative solutions for patients, the report found many are being forced to devote most of their time to consider issues such as their organisational form and governance.