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Balancing books harms PCT services

Pressure on PCTs to balance the books above all else is damaging efforts to redesign NHS services, GPs have told MPs.

Dr James Kingsland, chair of the National Association of Primary Care, said costs may have to rise on occasion in order to properly reorganise care.

He told the Health Select Committee inquiry into NHS deficits: 'Financial balance follows service redesign and improved demand management.

'It's not that financial balance is the end product, because what you end up doing is topslicing budgets, rationing, service removal and performance management.'

Dr David Jenner, NHS Alliance practice-based commissioning lead, said the belief of 'senior people in the NHS' that PBC equalled 'performance managing practices against indicative budgets' was putting GPs off.

He added: 'Others do see it

as redesigning care pathways for better patient care and

also reducing the impact on hospitals.'

PCT managers spoke of the importance of involving GPs in decisions about reorganising services.

John McIvor, chief executive of Rotherham PCT, said it had been critical to work with GPs to 'manage the development of alternative services, which perhaps are cheaper and higher-quality services as well'.

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