The reforms to the NHS are “too fast and furious”, Managers in Partnership has warned.

The union – which represents over 5,500 senior NHS managers – responded to the consultation on the Liberating the NHS white paper by calling for the government to reconsider the scale and speed of management cuts.

The response said: “While many of its aims are laudable, many of the white paper’s main proposals carry a high risk.”

It pointed out recent improvements in the performance of primary care trusts in world class commissioning and said clinical involvement could take place within the existing structure.

The submission said: “One example of the improvements that have been made is the greater involvement of clinicians in the commissioning process. It would be counter-productive to abolish them at this time.”

The union said a number of GPs had been reluctant with regards to early practice based commission schemes, and some had refused to engage in the process. It also questioned whether many GPs had the specialised knowledge to commission mental health services.

Management in Partnership chief executive Jon Restell said: “The pace of change proposed in this white paper is too fast and furious…

“We, like others in the healthcare team, are not convinced of the need for such wide-ranging changes at this time of budget restraint,” he added.

In response a Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The timetable set out in the white paper gives GP consortia over two years to build their skills and capability before they take on the formal statutory functions. PCTs will remain in place until 2013. We believe this allows for more than enough time, particularly as we are already seeing GPs in some parts of the country eager to seize the opportunity to lead the improvement of services for their population.”