FAMILY doctors in Oxfordshire are on course to take over controlling local health services after they passed a key test.

From April 1 next year Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), which is made up of GPs and other clinicians, is set to start managing the county’s £650m NHS budget.

It has now become one of the first groups in the country to receive authorisation from the NHS Commissioning Board, which is overseeing the transition from primary care trusts to the new commissioning groups.

The group has to submit further evidence on its constitution and its plans for the next three financial years.

But Dr Stephen Richards, chief clinical officer of OCCG, said: “Authorisation at this stage, albeit with conditions, confirms our decision to be one of the first wave of commissioning groups.”