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Efficiency overdrive

Efficiency was the word on every PCT manager's lips this year, as the drive to tackle deficits saw GPs faced with ever tightening controls over their prescribing costs.

A Pulse investigation in January revealed more than nine in 10 trusts were implementing schemes to switch patients en masse to generic simvastatin.

By March, switch schemes were expanding, and a Pulse survey found 38% of GPs felt their clinical decision making was compromised.

The backlash came in June with the news two PCTs were reviewing their policies. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry then launched a legal challenge against switching incentives for GPs. Even switching pioneer Professor Mike Kirby questioned blanket switching policies.

As the year drew to a close, ministers unveiled a £1.8bn NHS surplus – but as Pulse revealed last month the NHS is to bring in a new indicator, to extend drug switching further.

Nine out of 10 trusts had a statin switching policy Statin

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