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PCT exposed for bending rules

The GPC has begun exposing PCTs it accuses of bending the rules on enhanced service funding.

GP negotiators outed South East Oxfordshire PCT for using enhanced service cash to fund urine testing, GP appraisals, golden hellos, clinical governance, health walks, older people's day care, improvement grants and prescribing payments.

The GPC says none of these is an enhanced service.

But the PCT hit back, claiming that naming it was unfair. Professional executive committee chair Dr Stephen Richards said the list of services had been compiled in a rush at the request of the Department of Health.

While there was a clear definition for enhanced services from next April, there was a 'marked absence' of guidance for the current year, he added.

Dr Richards said the door was open to renegotiate the list in consultation with local GPs. 'It's all for discussion,' he said.

A significant portion of GPs' promised pay rise is at stake in the row. Oxfordshire LMC secretary Dr Paul Roblin said: 'Anything that has been spent on the community or gone to social services has suddenly been relabelled, but a sizeable chunk of the money will not go to GPs.'

The GPC has dismissed as 'fairyland' Department of Health figures that sought to reassure GPs that PCTs are meeting the Government's minimum national spending pledge on enhanced services.

Negotiators claim many trusts are simply relabelling existing services under the enhanced service banner. They have urged LMCs to help them build up a dossier of

creative accounting.

GPC joint-deputy chair Dr Simon Fradd admitted just two PCTs had been named by LMCs but insisted there was anecdotal evidence of a widespread crisis.

NHS Alliance spokesman Dr David Jenner said the situation this year was 'muddied' by confusion over the definition of an enhanced service.

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