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Plea to use savings on premises

GPs are pushing for tough new rules to force PCTs which underspend on enhanced services to use the cash for the services next year.

GPC negotiators are in talks with the Government to ensure the unspent cash is not lost to GPs. Under current rules, if the money is not spent it has to be returned

to the Department of Health.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said PCTs should only be able to shift the money into next year with LMC backing and under a strict set of rules.

He said: 'There are areas where there may be genuine delays, in others PCTs may have been dragging their feet and we wouldn't want to

do anything to encourage that.'

Around 80 PCTs are set to underspend and some strategic health authorities have ordered PCTs to use spare money to pay off hospital deficits.

Dr Meldrum said rules should be 'so tightly tied up' that enhanced services were 'the only place' the money could be spent.

Dr Robert Morley, Birmingham LMC executive secretary, said all the PCTs in the area were likely to underspend this year and no deal had been struck over where the cash will go.

He said: 'I want to see PCTs spend the money on enhanced services this year without any slippage.'

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