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PCOs eye cash for enhanced services

PCOs in Scotland are trying to use cash earmarked for enhanced services to make up deficits in their out-of-hours plans, LMCs are warning.

Lothian LMC said its PCO had told GPs it wanted to use enhanced services funding for out-of-hours because it faced a gap of around £1 million in its budget.

Forth Valley LMC said its trust had asked to use the money to cover a £1.4 million shortfall.

GPs in Tayside and Ayrshire have also claimed that

local PCOs will be between £1.5 million and £3 million short because they have

underestimated the real cost

of running an out-of-hours service.

GPs in Scotland argue they have been subsidising out-of-hours by working for lower rates, paying higher co-operative fees and seeing their own patients, but now trusts will have to meet these costs from their unified budgets.

Dr Dean Marshall, Lothian LMC secretary, said he had warned the PCO enhanced services cash would not be spent on anything else.

'We have made it clear to them that is not our interpretation and so there is no argument about it.'

He added: 'They seem to be able to fund the new PFI hospital so they are going to have to find the other £1 million to fund out-of-hours.'

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