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GPs are braced for service cutbacks

GPs in Middlesex are bracing themselves for cuts to services and pressure on hospital referrals after a primary care trust projected a £6.4 million deficit for next year.

Hounslow PCT said a combination of an inherited defic-it, historic reliance on external financing, poor infrastructure and growing demand for services had caused the problems.

John James, chief executive of the PCT, said it would have to 'consider making some challenging decisions about local health services' to balance its books.

Dr Stewart Drage, joint chief executive for Londonwide LMCs, said commissioning of enhanced services could be under threat and GPs would end up seeing more patients and having their referrals processed more slowly.

He said deficits could not be spread across neighbouring trusts as they did not have any money to spare.

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