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London PCTs jump gun on 'star rating'

PCTs are already trying to introduce local 'star rating' style systems to grade GP practices.

Three trusts in east London have proposed performance- monitoring frameworks which include a system to rate practices against a series of standards.

The moves by Newham, Tower Hamlets and City and East London PCTs come in advance of Government plans for a national system to enable patients to judge the quality of service offered by practices.

But GPs fear the local systems may be used to penalise practices and even to decommission GPs deemed to be poor performers.

Tower Hamlets PCT has already admitted that practices that consistently failed to reach the bottom standard would have their contracts terminated.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, condemned the trusts' plans. He said: 'For PCTs to be setting up their own little kangaroo courts is just not on.'

Dr Selahuri Shanugasan, chair of Tower Hamlets LMC, said GPs feared the aim of the scheme was to pave the way for private providers.

He said: 'We thought it was not the right way of developing practices.'

City and Hackney and Newham LMCs said negotiations with their PCTs had been constructive and the trusts had dropped plans for fixed banding of practices.

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