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GP says contract is a 'tragedy' ­ even though he expects to be better off

The Department of Health expects practices to carry out up to 53,000 more specialist procedures this year.

NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp said in his end-of-year report that the number of procedures done in primary care would rise by between 3.7 and 10 per cent.

But GPs said they needed extra funding and more staff before they could take on the work.

GPC deputy chair Dr Laurence Buckman said plans to expand GPs with special interests were 'a great idea', but practices needed guarantees funding would be sustained.

He said: 'Who will guarantee the funding beyond the life of one minister's bright idea, and who will see the people who currently require primary care?'

Dr Neil Crowley, a GP in Ealing, west London, with a special interest in dermatology, said he was already running clinics on a shoestring budget. 'The only help I have from the trust at the moment is a part-time typist,' he said.

'If we need to increase what is done in primary care we need a significant increase in resources. I can't carry on forever subsidising the NHS with my clinics.'

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