DUDLEY doctors have been given the green light to take control of the borough’s NHS budget.

Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group is one of 34 new organisations authorised by the new independent NHS Commissioning Board to commission healthcare services for the community.

The group is part of the first wave of organisations authorised to manage local NHS purse-strings.

From April 211 groups across the UK will replace 152 primary care trusts, which currently commission healthcare services, and they will be responsible for up to £65 billion of the £95 billion NHS Commissioning Board budget.

The Dudley group, consisting of 52 practices, will be responsible for managing a budget in excess of £400m.

Dr David Hegarty, chairman of Dudley CCG and GP, said: “The last few months working in shadow form has given clinicians in Dudley the opportunity to work together to genuinely make a difference to the way local services are provided, improving their quality and enabling patients to live longer, healthier lives.

“We are very pleased to have successfully passed through authorisation, our recent site visit went well, the panel was positive about the CCG becoming authorised.

“However this is just the first part of the journey, we have always been focused on providing the best commissioning for Dudley and will continue to do so as we set about our main challenge to improve services for all our patients.”

Eight of the 34 CCGs in the first wave have been authorised with no conditions, but Dudley is one of 26 authorised groups which must continue developing a detailed financial plan to meet the relevant criteria.

The remaining 177 CCGs across the UK will be authorised in a further three waves - in January, February and March.