Commissioning health care in England: an evolving story

Ann Intern Med. 2011 Oct 4;155(7):465-9. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-155-7-201110040-00009.


The general election in the United Kingdom in May 2010 resulted in the election of a new government, a coalition between Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. Six weeks after the election, a white paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS," that proposed profound changes to the structure and organization of the health service was published. The change that generated the most discussion was the proposal that general practitioners be placed at the center of the system and given control of about 80% of the National Health Service's £100 billion budget. The proposals were greeted with considerable concern by many health care professionals, patient representatives, and the media. In response, the government organized an independent review, and proposals have been altered in response. This article outlines the current organization of the National Health Service, the rationale for change, and government proposals.

MeSH terms

  • Budgets
  • England
  • General Practice / organization & administration
  • Health Care Reform / economics
  • Health Care Reform / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Medicine / organization & administration
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • State Medicine / economics
  • State Medicine / organization & administration*