1997: Incoming Labour government abolishes GP fundholding

1998: White paper The New NHS first moots the idea of PBC

October 2004: Policy announced by health minister John Hutton

December 2004: First government guidance - Practice-Based Commissioning: promoting clinical engagement

February 2005: Technical guidance - Making Practice-Based Commissioning a Reality - allows PCTs to topslice practice budgets to create a contingency fund

July 2005:Commissioning a Patient-led NHS sets target for universal coverage by December 2006

January 2006: New guidance - Practice-Based Commissioning: achieving universal coverage - defines universal coverage and sets out what is expected of PCTs; operating framework for 2006-07 reassures practices that they will keep 70 per cent of any savings achieved through redesign; Improvement Foundation launches first wave of 28 PCTs taking part in programme to reach universal coverage

March 2006: DoH starts to track progress on achieving universal coverage; DoH publishes a series of toolkits for PCTs on methodology and calculating budgets

May 2006: Health secretary Patricia Hewitt asks GPs to target savings generated by PBC to the government's six priorities: health inequalities; cancer 31 and 62-day waits; 18-week referral to treatment target; MRSA targets; patient choice and booking access; and sexual health targets

March 2007: Universal access achieved, claims DoH, with practice uptake at 96 per cent

May 2007: King's Fund/NHS Alliance report finds widespread support by GPs for PBC - but weaknesses in PCTs helping them implement it

September 2007: NHS Alliance report outlines some early wins from PBC

October 2007: Ipsos/Mori survey for DoH in June 2007 published. It also shows support for PBC but weaknesses in implementation

November 2007: Audit Commission report Putting Commissioning into Practice finds limited progress and outlines factors for success