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Neighbouring PCTs to monitor quality

Strategic health authorities are continuing to ignore NHS Confederation and GPC anger by asking primary care trusts to get a neighbouring PCT to monitor GPs' performance against the quality framework.

County Durham and Tees Valley strategic health authority, which covers 10 PCTs, said it was planning to follow Birmingham and the Black Country's lead and tell trusts not to check on their own GPs.

The move comes after Dr Tony Snell, medical director of Birmingham and the Black Country SHA, said doctors working for trusts would find it harder to crack down on GPs in their area.

The GPC and NHS Confederation have condemned the move, arguing that it was not agreed in the contract talks.

An NHS Confederation spokesman said new guidance would be issued this month that health authorities and PCTs will 'be required to follow'.

Debbie Edwards, policy lead for primary care at County Durham and Tees Valley SHA, said getting PCTs to examine each others' claims was in line with peer review throughout the rest of the NHS. 'The intention is there will be some sort of peer review and it may well be by neighbouring PCTs,' she said.

'The reasons things could be exploited are lack of understanding and a lack of knowledge rather than any intention to exploit.'

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