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Move to curb PCT tendering

PCTs are to be barred from inviting alternative providers to bid for 'low-tech' services that could be provided by existing GPs to their own patients.

Government guidance next month will state that services that are moved out of hospitals but remain 'within the bounds' of generalist care, such as diabetes monitoring, near patient testing or warfarin monitoring, should not be put out to tender.

The guidance aims to clarify exactly where alternative pro-viders, including the private sector, can provide care.

Dr James Kingsland, chair of the National Association of Primary Care and one of the authors of the guidance, said there had been widespread 'misconception' within PCTs about the issue.

Dr Kingsland, a GP in Liverpool, said: 'All over the country we've been getting information where practices and groups of practices want to extend the management of their own patients and PCTs are saying you have to put it out to tender.

'The private sector is there to help inequalities where historically it's been difficult to recruit. It was never the case of competing with the existing NHS family.'

The guidance, to be released in mid-July, will also clarify how reconfigured PCTs relate to commissioning consortia.

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