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PCTs warn NHS chief over contract future

Primary care trusts have warned the Government it is jeopardising the new contract by starving them of guidance on implementation.

GPs and managers ambushed NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp at a conference to highlight growing worries over IT and premises funding, out-of-hours, enhanced services, the move to registered lists and PMS.

Delegates at the NHS Alliance annual conference in Bournemouth demanded an impromptu vote to reveal their concerns after Sir Nigel said he believed only 'small details' of the deal were a concern and was unable to fully answer questions from the floor.

An overwhelming majority ­ described as 80 per cent by GPC chair Dr John Chisholm ­ said their trust had serious problems with implementation.

Questioned by Pulse afterwards, Sir Nigel said he was 'not particularly concerned' at the show of hands and did not consider the concerns of trusts a barrier to implementation.

'There are some important small details to work through,' he said. 'The key thing is we'll do it.'

Dr Chisholm said IT was 'a major area of uncertainty', not a small detail. He added: 'This must be resolved over the next couple of months. Implementation is as important as the negotiations.'

NHS Alliance chair Dr Mike Dixon, a GP in Collumpton, Devon, said PCTs' IT plans were in 'near paralysis'.

He added: 'It's not a small problem. Practices are having to stop in their tracks because PCTs are saying they can't give money for IT.'

Dr Clare Highton, professional executive co-chair of City and Hackney PCT, told Sir Nigel at the conference her trust was struggling to plan out-of-hours cover and practices were unable to prepare for the quality and outcomes framework.

She added: 'November is leaving it late, particularly for PCTs going through their financial projections, and practices must feel confident in making financial projections too, but all they said was that they are working on it.'

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