'Opportunity and choice' white paper

The Opportunity and choice white paper set out proposals to give primary care professionals greater flexibility to try different forms of contracting models. It was intended that the government would legislate to allow practitioners and health authorities to:

  • test different contracts that included practice-based contracts for GPs (which promoted a whole primary care team approach)
  • enabled GPs to become salaried employees.

Additionally, it was envisaged that the legislation would allow increased flexibility for the provision of some services by community pharmacists. These new patterns of contract became increasingly important in providing more flexibility for the commissioning of primary care.

The proposals laid out by Secretary of State, Stephen Dorrell, in October 1996 were welcomed in parliament by the Opposition.


Lewis R, Gillam S, Gosden T, Sheaff R.
Commentary: Who contracts for primary care?
Journal of Public Health Medicine.
1999; 21(4): 367–371.

House of Commons.
Primary Care.
HC Deb 15 October 1996 vol 282 cc591-606.
Hansard; 1996.