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GPs sceptical on allocations deal

Enforced patient allocations will eventually be cut to zero, the new contract claims.

It states in a majority of cases there will be no need to progress beyond the first stage of a new three-stage application process to close GP lists.

The first stage involves discussions between GPs and their primary care organisation over support available to the practice to keep the list open.

Measures include looking at whether other practices can take on patients or whether the practice should hire salaried staff.

Second and third stages involve further consultation using an assessment panel and practice visits. Panels will comprise a trust chief executive, a patient representative, an LMC representative and a director from the strategic health authority. GPs can ultimately appeal to a strategic health authority if their trust forces them to keep their list open.

Primary care organisations' star ratings will be hit if they do not minimise the need for allocations.

Dr John Grenville, chair of Derbyshire LMC, said he was not convinced it would be a 'career-terminating move' for PCO chief executive if they were making too many allocations. 'That makes me wonder how serious a threat star ratings will be to a chief executive,' he added.

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