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'Sue PCTs for IT reimbursement'

GPs should sue primary care trusts if they refuse to reimburse practices for 100 per cent of their IT costs, the GPC has advised.

In an escalation of the row over IT funding, GP negotiators said the threat of court action would force trusts to honour the new contract.

The warning comes after PCTs said £17 million Government funding was no-where near enough for them

to meet their new obligations.

Former NHS Alliance contract lead Dr David Jenner estimated trusts would need £50 million in total to meet the cost of maintaining systems and upgrade them to enable GPs to carry out audits, set up call and recall systems and assess how many quality points they want to aim for.

GP negotiators have said they are pressuring ministers for more funding but refused to reveal how much more they believe GPs need. Dr Simon Fradd, GPC joint-deputy chair, said GPs should go to the small claims court if trusts refused to meet their IT bills.

'We have got a contract and the trust would lose,' he said. 'Not one case would actually go to court as there would be so much pressure from the Department of Health.'

Dr Paul Cundy, co-chair of the joint GPC IT committee, said GPs should refuse to give trusts access to their data unless they get 100 per cent IT reimbursement. He added: 'If they do not do the first thing then we will not do that.'

Dr Jenner, a GP in Collumpton, Devon, said the idea of suing trusts showed the 'battle is in the wrong place'.

He said: 'If anyone should be suing anyone, the BMA should sue the Government.'

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