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Independents' Day

'Feeble' extra £3m for GPs' IT costs

The Government has given PCTs only £3 million extra to reimburse GPs' IT costs.

In a letter to the GPC, health minister John Hutton said trusts would get £20 million in total to cover minor upgrades and maintenance ­ less than half the £50 million GP negotiators have estimated is needed.

GPC negotiator Dr Laurence Buckman said: 'We will continue to press the Government to hold to what they said they would pay.'

Dr Trefor Roscoe, a GP in Sheffield and a medical information consultant, said GPs would start the contract in April 'without the systems that support it ­ we are looking at a feeble attempt to plug the hole in the contract that the IT debacle has exposed'.

Dr Paul Singer, professional executive committee chair of Luton Teaching PCT, said the cash would not cover upgrades to make GPs capable of coping with enhanced software.

Dr Mike Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance and GP in Devon, said 'two or three times' the £20 million was required.

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