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New clinical DES will 'barely cover costs' says GPC leader

By Nigel Praities

The money offered for the new clinical enhanced services will barely even cover costs and is unlikely to prove attractive to practices, the GPC says.

The warning came as it released new details of the DES arrangements, which are to be allocated £50m of investment.

DESs will focus on [beta]-blocker use in patients with left ventricular dysfunction, setting up fragility fracture registers in women at risk of osteoporosis and annual health checks for patients with severe learning disabilities, including physical examination and medication review.

GPs will also be encouraged to tackle problem drinking and ‘deliver an evidence-based brief intervention' in a DES targeted at patients drinking at hazardous or harmful levels.

But GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said although negotiations over the clinical DESs were ‘almost finished', he doubted how attractive they would be to GPs.

‘I don't think they're worth the money. That's not to say it's not worth doing those things for patients. But I find it hard to see how they can be made to pay, and even meet the cost of doing things,' he said.

Dr Buckman urged GPs to look ‘at the bottom line rather than the top' before agreeing to provide an enhanced service.

Dr John Ashcroft, a GP in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, and vice-chair of Derbyshire LMC, described the DESs as ‘worthy' but was concerned about adequate resourcing.

‘The risk is if general practice does this extra work but gets underpaid, ultimately that isn't good for the health service.'

A NHS Employers spokesperson said it was finalising the DESs and each practice should decide whether to do them ‘depending on their individual circumstances'.

‘The amount of money that supports the DESs was agreed with the GPC; we hope practices will see the value and benefits to patients,' she said.

Dr Laurence Buckman: says new clinical DES money will barely cover costs Dr Laurence Buckman: says new clinical DES money will barely cover costs

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