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Out-of-hours plans face new cash crisis

Plans for out-of-hours services are facing a new crisis as a result of the drop in practices' global sums.

Indicative budgets sent to GPs last week showed many practices have a low global sum and will rely on MPIG to make up their basic practice income.

The result is GPs will pay less than the predicted £6,000, or 6 per cent of average global sum, to give up 24-hour care, but PCOs will be left with a massive funding gap.

Three PCOs in Suffolk have warned other services are under threat because of a £2.8 million shortfall in budgets for a new out-of-hours service.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal and Suffolk Central PCTs said: 'There is no limitless pot and we will have to look at total funds. The shortfall will put pressure on developing this contract.'

Grampian PCT GMS project manager Julie Fletcher said less money will now be available for its scheme. 'There will have to be compromises. We will have to do the best we can but we have no resources to do that,' she added.

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