Practice-based commissioning – in which practices commission care directly – will be universal by December 2006. This means that it is no longer an option for practices to commission the care they need for their patients. We must either get involved and take control of this opportunity or allow someone else to do it for us. This may be our last chance to remain independent and to manage our practices rather than being managed by others. In this article, we look at what practice commissioning will involve and how it will affect practices and PCTs.