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All PCTs top-sliced

All PCTs in England are to have their 2006/7 budgets top-sliced by strategic health authorities as part of efforts to stave off deficits.

Trusts in London were last week told they would have to hand over 3 per cent of their budgets to SHAs to ensure financial balance in the capital.

Other PCTs around the country will now be expected to follow the same policy under the Government's PCT operating framework for 2006/7. The amount top-sliced will be decided locally.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC negotiator and a GP in Leeds, said practice-based commissioning could be scuppered if practices were saddled with the limits imposed on PCTs.

He said: 'There's much frustration among the PCTs and anyone who's heard of it. We're already struggling to balance the books and to take this on leaves us in extreme difficulties next year.'

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