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PBC claim ridiculed by GPs

GPs and policy experts have ridiculed Department of Health claims that PCT mergers have had no impact on practice-based commissioning uptake.

Latest figures show 82 per cent of trusts have plans in place for universal PBC coverage – exactly the same as the department's target.

Health minister Lord Warner said there was 'no indication that the run-up to recent PCT mergers has slowed uptake'. He added: 'PCTs and practices should be congratulated for keeping their eye on the ball.'

But Mike Sobanja, chief executive of the NHS Alliance, said there was no doubt that PCT restructuring had had an impact.

He also criticised the Government's use of payments to practices under the directed enhanced service to measure take-up as being 'fraught with difficulty'.

He said: 'The figures look impressive but when you ask how many commissioners on the ground are making a difference it's still a significant minority.'

Dr Philip Fielding, a GP in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire LMC PBC lead, said: 'People may be signed up but do they know what they are actually doing? In terms of what's happening on the ground I can't say there is a huge amount of enthusiasm and people are hedging their bets.'

Dr Ian Greaves, a GP in Gnosall, Staffordshire, said the reconfiguration in his area had caused a planning blight.

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