Health secretary Andrew Lansley has called a halt to NHS reconfiguration in London.

Confirmation of his move came in response to HSJ’s report today that Mr Lansley had instigated a “review” of the Healthcare for London plan that set out a 10 year reform of the capital’s health services to implement a 2007 report by former health minister Lord Ara Darzi.

Mr Lansley said in a statement: “As I promised before the election, I am calling a halt to NHS London’s reconfiguration of NHS services.

“A top-down, one-size fits all approach will be replaced with the devolution of responsibility to clinicians and the public, with an improved focus on quality.

“It will be centred on a sound evidence base, support from GP commissioners and strengthened arrangements for public and patient engagement, including local authorities”.

The halt will mean the NHS in London will need to find an alternative means of saving the £5.1bn funding gap it estimates its primary care trusts will face by 2016-17.

The Healthcare for London plan involved shifting care out of hospitals and into GP-led centres or “polyclinics”.

It was unpopular with GPs who feared polyclinics would be run by private competitors while acute trusts were concerned about the reliability of estimates the shift out of hospital would equate to a 72 per cent drop in their activity.

In a statement issued following Mr Lansley’s announcement, NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnall said: “Lord Darzi’s Healthcare for London review showed that the current approach to delivering care in the capital wouldn’t meet the needs of Londoners. Today’s announcement says we must find a new way of meeting these same challenges.

“The secretary of state is clear that GPs must take the lead in deciding which services are provided locally. He is also clear that Londoners must have a bigger say on the shape of local services and be able to make informed choices on where they go to receive care.

“To support this, we will make available to the public as much information as possible on the quality of our services and provide substantial clinical evidence for any proposed changes. We will also build on the extensive clinical leadership we have developed across London in the past two years. There are many doctors, nurses and other NHS staff who are more than ready and willing to take on this new challenge.

“NHS London remains committed to improving the quality of care we provide for everyone who uses the NHS in the capital. Over the next few months we will be working with GPs and other clinicians to understand how best to support them as they deliver the urgently needed improvements to London’s healthcare.”