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CAMHS won't see you now

High-referring GPs set to see pay docked

MPs are considering calls to clamp down on GPs' prescribing freedoms in a bid to curtail the influence of pharmaceutical companies on individual practices.

GPs should be allowed to prescribe just a limited range of drugs from a restricted list, the Commons health select committee heard during the second session of its investigation into drug company influence.

Dr Des Spence, a GP in Glasgow and spokesman for the pressure group No Free Lunch, told the committee that a PCT 'formulary' would reduce pressure from pharmaceutical company representatives on individual GPs.

'If we remove control from GPs over which drugs they prescribe that might remove the problem,' he said.

Dr Spence admitted it would be difficult to apply the restrictions to 'independent-minded' doctors, but claimed there would be a public outcry if other professionals received as much corporate hospitality as GPs.

But Dr Brian Crichton, a Solihull GP and honorary lecturer in therapeutics and pharmacology at the University of Warwick, called the proposals 'patronising'.

He said GPs had years of experience in sorting through evidence presented by reps.

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