Private management consultants have been recruited by GPs seeking advice on the government's controversial reforms set to transform the NHS.
The changes to the health service will see the responsibility of commissioning transferred to GP consortia from strategic health authorities and primary care trusts, which will then be axed. This means that GPs will be responsible for the handling of around £80bn of the NHS budget.
More than two dozen GP consortia have been working with consultancy firm McKinsey in an attempt to get a better idea of how the new arrangements will work out.
A spokesman for the firm said: "McKinsey has been supporting more than two dozen consortia from across the UK to build their confidence in taking on new tasks and new roles during their transition to GP commissioning.
"We have worked intensively with individual pathfinders, are running a major national learning network for a dozen leading consortia, and are also supporting a learning network for every pathfinder in one strategic health authority.
"We support consortia in their development with an approach that is tailored, practical, engaged, and expert."
The spokesman said the firm has "tested approaches" that address topics including vision and strategy, delegated budgets, commissioning capabilities, governance, leadership, engagement of stakeholders and patients, and starting up operations.
Meanwhile, NHS managers have been working alongside PricewaterhouseCoopers to assess how soon GPs will be ready to take on the commissioning responsibilities, Pulse magazine has reported.
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