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Brown scuppers dual registration

Dual registration has been ditched from the forthcoming Community Health White Paper because of vehement opposition from Gordon Brown, Pulse has learned.

The Chancellor is understood to have vetoed the policy because he believed it would exacerbate health inequalities and lead some surgeries to close.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt last week admitted there were 'some quite severe practical problems' with dual registration, in a move which paves the way for it to be dropped from the paper.

The Department of Health had been keen on the plan as a way of improving access and choice, but will now rely on proposals for longer opening hours and more private sector involvement in primary care.

Pulse understands the White Paper, due at the end of this month, will introduce 'health MOTs', but only for smokers or obese patients who identify themselves as at risk.

It will also propose an expansion of talking therapies in mental health.

Details of the White Paper emerged as Tony Blair's new health adviser proposed that closed GP lists should trigger immediate opportunities for private firms to run GP services.

Professor Paul Corrigan, visiting professor of public policy at the University of North London, said GP registration was a 'mockery' if practices' lists were closed and no other providers were available for patients.

In a pamphlet for the Social Market Foundation, Professor Corrigan also called for a massive increase in inspection of GPs and more performance data on their service.

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