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Scotland will be short of 500 GPs

Health minister John Hutton has strenuously denied reports the Government plans to slash the number of primary care trusts.

He said the NHS needed more reorganisation 'like a hole in the head' and there were no plans to cut the number of trusts to as few as 60.

Mr Hutton told the NHS Alliance annual conference PCTs would be 'liberated' to get on with their work and there would be no new national targets.

He said US giant United Healthcare, which runs the Evercare scheme, would not be allowed to buy up the NHS: 'I will not preside over the flogging off of the NHS to large US organisations.'

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