EIGHT Cambridgeshire family doctors have been elected to help pave the way for Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s controversial plans for GPs to commission patient care.

They include Drs David Roberts, of Great Staughton, and David Irwin, from Buckden.

Despite Prime Minister David Cameron announcing a 'pause' in the passage of the much-criticised health bill through the House of Commons to allow time for further debate, NHS Cambridgeshire says it will not delay moving the purchase of services to groups of GP practices.

So family doctors have elected a group of eight GPs to form the first GP 'commissioning senate' in East Anglia.

The members will work with the county's six 'shadow consortia' - groups of GP practices that will take over commissioning services from NHS Cambridgeshire when it is disbanded in 2013.

NHS Cambridgeshire chief executive Dr Sushil Jathanna said: "The GPs are in the driving seat and need to take control of their own destiny. We need to make sure everything is not paralysed while we wait for decisions (from the Government)."

New senate chairman, GP Dr Simon Hambling, said it was unlikely that the Government would scrap the concept of GP commissioning.

Progress so far included a recently-awarded three-year contract for audiology services between Addenbrooke's and Hinchingbrooke hospitals and Specsavers that means people can have their hearing aids serviced on the high street instead of going to hospital.