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PCTs admit to false pledges on spending

Government spending promises for enhanced services are a sham. Primary care trusts have admitted they

made up figures submitted to ministers.

PCTs told Pulse they had given the Department of Health false breakdowns of their planned spending and had not yet allocated money to specific projects.

Newbury and Community PCT in Berkshire admitted it could only account for £400,000 for enhanced services in its budget, even though it submitted a return to the Department of Health showing it would spend its £516,000 floor. A spokeswoman said: 'I would like to know where this £516,000 is.'

The debacle came to light after a department list of spending plans showed three trusts pledging their entire enhanced services budget to a single area, such as access or demand management. A further seven trusts pledged their budget to just two of nine categories listed.

Ministers had trumpeted trusts' plans to spend £329 million on enhanced services, 4 per cent more than they had been allocated.

Dr Simon Fradd, GPC joint-deputy chair, said negotiators were 'not satisfied' and had asked the Government for a full breakdown of spending plans so they could analyse them 'line by line'.

He said: 'I'm not satisfied we have been given information in a transparent fashion that allows us to agree whether the £315 million has been allocated or not.'

North Hertfordshire and Stevenage PCT told the department it was spending its entire £1.2 million enhanced services budget on demand management. In a statement, it admitted the money 'had not been identified as individual components, and was therefore all included in the column marked demand management initiatives.'

Three other PCTs - Morecambe Bay, Suffolk Coastal and Hartlepool - admitted they had 'lumped together' spending on their returns.

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