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'PCTs abuse power on performers'

Medicolegal experts have accused PCTs of abusing their powers after the number of GPs removed from performers lists almost trebled in the past year.

The Family Health Services Appeals Authority received 175 notifications of removal in 2005/6 compared with 66 in the previous year. Yet the number of GPs actually suspended only increased by eight to 69.

Dr Stephanie Bown, director of education and communications at the Medical Protection Society, had 'grave concerns' about whether PCTs were managing performers lists fairly.

She said the MPS had successfully challenged three cases in the past year where PCTs had abused their powers.

'Our experience has been that removal particularly has been a relatively easy thing for PCTs to do. Quite a lot of PCTs are removing for low thresholds rather than looking at a more supportive approach,' she said.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC negotiator, suggested the increase could be due to PCTs removing locums who were no longer practising. 'I think they've become much more aware that management of their list has financial implications,' he said.

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