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GP makes levy protest over joint PCO and LMC roles

There will be a 'national outcry' if the new contract for pharmacists is funded with money earmarked for enhanc-ed services, GPs are warning.

Pharmacists are in the final stages of negotiations with the Government on a contract that breaks work into essential, additional and enhanced services in the same way as the new GMS deal.

Under the contract, pharmacists will be expected to take on work such as chronic disease management and repeat prescribing which has been done by GPs.

But ministers have refused to confirm whether they will commit extra money to cover the new work.

The uncertainty has led to growing fears the Department of Health will tell PCTs to find the money from the £1.4 billion allocated to enhanced services.

Alastair Buxton, a member of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said PCTs would decide how the deal was funded. He added: 'All the indications are that extra money will be forthcoming but I have nothing definite.'

Dr Russell Walshaw, medical secretary of North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire LMCs, said the Government had to find extra cash. 'If there is a situation that money due for GPs will be diverted to pay for this I can assure you there will be a national outcry.'

Surrey and Sussex LMCs joint chief executive Dr James Gillgrass said: 'There will be a lot of opposition if the money that was intended for general practice has to be hived off for pharmacists.'

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