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PCTs 'should compensate for flu chaos'

PCT deficits and lack of interest from GPs are set to stop practice-based commissioning in its tracks, doctors and managers are warning.

The caution from delegates at the NHS Alliance annual conference came as research found pilots of the scheme had improved treatment in primary and intermediate care, but failed to make an impact on secondary care.

The study by the Health Services Management Centre found practice-based commissioning enabled a wider range of practice-based services to manage chronic disease and avoid outpatient referrals. Increased financial incentives for GPs to change their prescribing practice was also a consequence, the report concluded.

But GPs and PCTs predicted big problems getting it off the ground. Kevin Hale, head of primary care at North Devon PCT, said: 'I would welcome it with open arms if I was not sitting in a PCT with financial deficit.'

Dr Neil Crichton, PEC chair of Bristol South and West PCT, said GPs were too focused on the new contract.

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