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Pension bills to take edge off bumper GP profits

Fears that practices will miss out on quality pay if they re-fuse to offer advance appointments have been allayed.

Concerns had been raised after the Department of Health inserted a new question into its monthly access survey in November to find out whether patients could prebook appointments up to four weeks ahead.

The GPC criticised ministers for not warning GPs of the move and sought assurances it would not affect whether GPs would get the 50 quality points bonus for hitting the access target.

Ministers had already signalled their intention to crack down on GPs who were restricting advance appointments to hit the target.

But GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the Government had now confirmed that answers given will have no bearing on the payments.

The department said strategic health authorities had been asked to ensure PCTs support practices in adapting appointment systems.

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