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Appraisals put on hold at more PCTs

Two more PCTs have suspended their appraisal schemes because of cash shortages.

Cambridgeshire and Worcestershire PCTs have broken Department of Health guidance by freezing the scheme until spring next year and telling GPs they will have to foot the bill if they want an appraisal.

Jill Challener, medical director at the Cambridgeshire PCT, said suspending appraisals until April was one of the few things the trust could do 'without direct consequences for patient care'.

The trust has estimated it will save £100,000 from the move.

Dr Guy Watkins, Cambridge LMC chief executive, said suspending appraisals was 'an outrageous suggestion'.

In Worcestershire, the PCT has suspended appraisals until March, but only for the one-third of its GPs who used to be in the South Worcestershire PCT.

Dr Simon Parkinson, Worcestershire LMC chair, said: 'If you suspend appraisals there could be problems that are missed. GPs might be struggling on in their practice or have health difficulties. Doctors who want to go on a performance list elsewhere might not be allowed on it if they have not had a recent appraisal.'

A department spokesperson repeated its previous line that funds had been provided to cover appraisals and it was 'not best practice' to make cuts in the scheme.

Gloucestershire PCT, which had suspended its appraisal scheme indefinitely, has agreed to restart it in April. No decision has been reached on how much GPs will be paid for carrying them out, however.

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