GP consortia are likely to look to the independent sector to meet their IT and information needs for commissioning, according to the NHS Alliance.

Dr David Jenner, practice-based commissioning lead for the Alliance, said the information currently supplied by the NHS was not good enough, with successive Department of Health surveys on PBC delivering the lowest scores for quality and timeliness of information.

He told EHI Primary Care: “This is one area where a consortia may look at outsourcing to the independent sector, as what we currently get from the NHS is pretty rubbish.

"I think the independent sector can deliver on that and the big HMO companies are already circling GPs to sell their wares – just like the drug companies were to GPs ten years ago.”

Dr Jenner said GP consortia would need systems that could take data from secondary care and rapidly translate it into information that would enable consortia to quickly see what was happening across different specialties and between practices.

He said: “In most places you are not getting that at the moment and the trouble is that it sits around in PCT IT departments and doesn’t come out in a digestible form.”

Dr Jenner said predicted that GP systems would eventually provide an instant price for every decision a GP made, following on from the drug switching software systems that already exist.

The BMA’s GP committee this week advised GPs not to rush into commissioning consortia and said it expected the DH to publish a supplementary report on its commissioning plans within the next two weeks.

The General Practitioner Committee said it would also be writing to GPs over the next few days and would start releasing what it envisaged would be a “stream of information” on commissioning and the white paper changes as soon as possible.