The NHS Alliance has criticised the GP contract for failing to recognise GPs' increased role and responsibilities.
The Alliance says GPs should be encouraged to take a leadership role within the NHS, being responsible not only for individual consultations but also for the practice's population health.
The primary care body says that while many good practices up and down the country take their public health role seriously, this is something that is not recognised in the contract.
The NHS Alliance recommends that the contract should also ensure that GPs are accountable for watching their spend by actively managing referrals, prescribing and investigations in the most cost-effective way.
Dr Michael Dixon (pictured), Chairman of the NHS Alliance, said: "The role of the GP is changing and the contract needs to reflect that. Doctors should be seen as a public health physician for the whole of the practice population.
"Indeed, this would be the realisation of the potential of the registered list with an extended role in self-help, personal health and community health."
He added: "Practices that spend most are not necessarily doing more for their patients and GPs should be tasked with using NHS resources in the most efficient manner.
"At the same time, GPs should not be penalised if their local circumstances do not allow them to be as efficient with spending as they would like. But it is important they are committed to doing so."