Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for buying secondary care - which includes things like the healthcare provided by hospitals – will begin 'joint commissioning' GP services in April after their application was approved by NHS England.
The new responsibilities mean the CCG will work alongside NHS England to make decisions about which GP services to buy for the population of Stafford and the surrounding villages, either through a joint committee or 'committees in common.'
The CCG was one of 87 given the new 'joint commissioning' responsibility.
In February, a further 64 CCGs were approved for 'delegated commissioning' powers, meaning that from April 1 more than 70 per cent of CCGs will take on new responsibilities for buying GP services in their area.
Dr Anne-Marie Houlder, chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG, said: "We were thrilled our application for joint commissioning powers was approved and feel it is a strong vote of confidence from NHS England.
"GPs and other primary care services like dentists, opticians and pharmacists are typically a patient's first point of contact with the NHS ," she said. "That means they are absolutely critical in joining up care in the way we need to do to provide an efficient and effective healthcare system that gives our public the most seamless and smoothest possible experience of care.
She added: "This is an exciting opportunity to take the next step forward and make sure the services that we are buying for the people of Stafford and surrounds are well-organised and talk to each other and continue to offer the high-quality care that our local population needs and deserves now and well into the future."