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Chaos over Vioxx as GPs left with conflicting advice

GPs have condemned a PCT's plans to bar practices that fail to hit the 48-hour access target from taking on local enhanced services.

East Staffordshire PCT made the threat after it commissioned an audit by financial services giant KPMG which showed a third of practices 'failed to achieve the target more often than not'.

Its plans have caused outrage, with one GP quitting the professional executive committee of the trust in protest.

Dr Declan Mulvaney, a GP in Barton under Needwood, said managers had pushed through the scheme despite the committee voting against it: 'It's a voluntary target for general practice even if it's a mandatory target for the PCT.'

In a letter to GPs last week, South Staffordshire LMC secretary Dr David Dickson called for a ballot on 'total withdrawal' from the access target. He accused the trust of 'coercion'.

East Staffordshire PCT director of service improvement, John Wicks, insisted the trust wanted to work 'constructively' with GPs.

He said not commissioning enhanced services from next April would be the 'final action in seeking to relieve the pressure on practices in delivering their core services'.

He added: 'The issue for the PCT is, how fair is it on the patients of the practices that are struggling to deliver core services to be diversifying into local enhanced services?'

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