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GPs in Surrey have given a cautious welcome to plans by nurses and therapists to set up a 'not for profits company' to contract out their services.

The company, Central Surrey Health, will be co-owned by 700 nursing and therapy staff currently working across East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey PCT.

It plans to use specialist personal medical services (SPMS) contracts to provide NHS services.

Dr James Gillgrass, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex LMCs, said GPs had major concerns over the quantity rather than quality of the district nursing service and were hopeful the changes might encourage more nurses to work in east Surrey.

'There's a feeling that things can't get any worse,' he said. 'There simply aren't enough nurses. This new approach might increase interest.'

The fact the nurses would work in a similar way to GPs' businesses was a positive, Dr Gillgrass said.

East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey PCT has given its backing to Central Surrey Health.

The plans will now go out to formal consultation, with a view to the company being set up in April 2006.

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