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GP's fury as referrals ignored

U-turn on 'over-performance'

The Government has done a U-turn on its decision not to increase a series of fees and allowances to GPs because they had 'over-performed' on the contract.

Ministers had refused to raise locum payments, prolonged study leave allowances and retainer scheme payments for 2005/6. But these will all now rise by 3.225 per cent ­ in line with other increases in GPs' fees.

The GPC argued the payments were part of the three-year, 10 per cent pay deal struck with ministers in 2003.

Alzheimer's challenge to NICE

The Government has challenged NICE to prove it has the evidence to back up its controversial decision to withdraw four Alzheimer's drugs from use in the NHS.

In response to the consultation on the preliminary NICE ruling, Health Secretary

John Reid asked whether the institute had compared the cost of donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine with non-drug interventions.

Although NICE generally only considers NHS costs, Mr Reid called on them to factor carer

time into cost-effectiveness calculations when drawing up final guidance due out in October.

Home visits decline steadily

Fewer than one GP consultation in 20 is a home visit, latest figures reveal. The figure compares with around one in five in 1971.

Some 10 per cent of consultations are now conducted by telephone, with 86 per cent done in the surgery.

The survey of social trends by National Statistics showed people were more likely to be satisfied with GP services than other parts of the NHS.

New NICE guidelines on PTSD

NICE has issued guidelines on how to improve the recognition, screening and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in

children and adults in primary and secondary care.

The guidance recommends that where the symptoms of PTSD, which affects 5 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women, are mild and have been present for less than four weeks, watchful waiting should be considered.

All others with PTSD should be offered a course of trauma-focused psychological treatment on an individual outpatient basis.

Bid to save registered lists

GP negotiators believe they can persuade the Government to back down on its plans to abolish registered lists.

Dr Richard Vautrey (left), GPC negotiator, said the plans were 'a major concern' but were an election stunt which Labour would be forced to ditch if they were returned to office.

He said the ministers would have to discuss any proposals with the GPC and it would show they were unworkable.

Revalidation pledge by GPC

The GPC is planning a 'robust' response to the Chief Medical Officer's review of revalidation which will argue against a 'name, blame and shame' culture.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said the response would call for appraisal and revalidation to remain separate.

He said: 'We felt appraisal should remain educational and revalidation should be about how you seek out poorly-performing doctors'.

The GPC will also warn that adopting a similar scheme to airline pilots ­ who spend around 15 per cent of their time training ­ would need a significant boost in resources.

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