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No access cash for small GP practices

Small practices are being denied £5,000 Government payments for improving patient access, despite meeting 24- and 48-hour targets.

The Small Practices Association said GPs were being denied the cash because they were running open-access surgeries and not offering 'bookable' appointments.

Chair of the association Dr Michael Taylor said the Department of Health's new contract helpline and a number of primary care organisations were telling small practices they needed to change their system to qualify for the money.

Dr Taylor said: 'There was no mention that there would only be payment if the appointments were bookable. This has come from nowhere.'

The GPC has pledged to raise the issue with the department. GPC deputy-chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said: 'What some PCTs are saying does seem unfair as even if technically it's not a booked appointment patients are still being seen the same day.'

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