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Incentives not good enough

Incentives for practice-based commissioning are still not strong enough to encourage many practices to take part, GPs and health care experts told the Pulse seminar.

Dr Mark Hunt, a GP in Frome, Somerset, and former senior policy adviser at the Department of Health, said that although incentives existed, GPs were also taking on 'big risks'.

But he added that GPs had no option but to get involved ­ 'there's no other game in town'.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the King's Fund, said in his presentation: 'I don't think they probably are strong enough incentives at the moment in spite of the fact GPs are starting to come forward.'

GPs attending the seminar said many practices still had not been given indicative budgets.

Dr Anthony Quastel, a GP from New Romney, Kent, said: 'The Government are adopting a carrot-and-stick approach and don't feel they need to provide that much of an incentive.'

Dr James Kingsland, chair of the National Association of Primary Care and one of the speakers, added: 'Whilst there's always widespread support for the agenda, there seems to be a bit of a slow approach to how it's being implemented.'

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