Support for the government’s plans to hand over billions of pounds to GPs for commissioning could be starting to crumble on fears over financial accountability in the new system.

A group of senior GPs has reportedly withdrawn its support for the plans, and the NHS Alliance has also voiced strong concerns over the speed at which GP commissioning will be introduced, according to Pulse Magazine.

Under the government’s radical proposals to hand over the bulk of commissioning and a budget of up to £80 billion over to GP-led consortia, referrals will likely be subjected to rigorous checks and GPs will be expected to share part of the financial risk.

But NHS Alliance Chair Michael Dixon told Pulse: “There is a fear among many GPs that to accommodate front-runners they will have to take on a level of accountability they don’t want. They feel it’s a bridge too far and they are not ready to do it”.

And while the expected date of the passover, or any other details surrounding the policy, have not yet been confirmed, it is widely believed that April 2012 is being targeted as this is also the due date for the new independent NHS Board, being established to support commissioning decisions and lead the National Health Service without political interference.

Again, Dixon is critical of this timeframe, warning that it is “over-ambitious to expect groups of GPs to take over commissioning within two years”, and claiming that only around 5% of GPs are currently ready, Pulse reports, and he suggests that those that are ready to ho should do so under a pilot scheme to test the new framework before its widespread implementation.

Details of the new framework will be provided in a new white paper, the publication of which is expected on July 12.