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The Government's flu pandemic plan fails to take into account the 'huge potential workload' for GPs or the need to pay them for extra work, the RCGP has warned.

The college demanded 'flexibility' over QOF targets should a pandemic strike, and called for clearer guidance on distributing anti-virals and vaccinating patients.

Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP honorary secretary, warned GPs faced 'enormous difficulty' coping with home visits to self-

isolating patients.

'Primary care has a long way to go if it is to meet the challenge of influenza in the 21st century,' she said in evidence to the Lords select committee inquiry on pandemic flu.

'There are concerns the previous ability of primary care to adapt and expand its capacity to respond to surges in demand may have been lost due to changes in GP contracts.'

The college also attacked the Government for failing to consult GPs on its plans. 'There is not much evidence of this happening at present,' Dr Baker said.

Dr Raina Patel, a GP in Romiley, Stockport, said: 'Our surgeries are already full, so where are we going to fit this in? It's just not feasible.'

Dr Gregor Purdie, secretary of Dumfries and Galloway LMC, said GPs had to raise the issue of resources now to save arguments in the event of a pandemic. 'There is an acknowledgement we will be very busy but I want to know how we will be supported.'

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