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'Poor deals' alert

PCTs are using 'over-zealous' tactics to coerce GPs into signing substandard practice-based commissioning agreements, LMCs are reporting.

Londonwide LMCs has written to GPs warning them not to sign agreements from trusts which offered terms worse than the directed enhanced service.

It also advised GPs to resist pressure from PCTs which were demanding they send back forms as soon as possible.

The advice came after a template 'accountability agreement' issued by Harrow PCT was cited by NHS Networks as an example of best practice for PCTs.

The agreement, which GPs must sign in order to take on commissioning, said consortia of practices covering 25,000 patients or more were the only 'viable' commissioning size. Practices that opted out could have their budgets managed by a private firm, it added.

Dr Fay Wilson, secretary of Londonwide LMCs, said some PCTs were 'behaving like double-glazing salesmen'.

She said: 'They are saying send this back as soon as possible. We have been concerned about that time pressure. The minimum GPs need is three weeks, if not four. Our advice is to sign it after advice from the LMC or a legal adviser.'

Dr Wilson said some PCTs were asking GPs to agree to keep only 50 per cent of savings, rather than the 70 per cent stipulated by Government guidance.

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