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Survey reveals fears over primary care funding squeeze

By Laura Montini

GPs and PCT managers fear that primary care budgets will be hit hard by the forthcoming financial squeeze on the NHS, according to a survey taken at the NHS Alliance conference in Manchester last week.

86 out of 100 GPs, nurses and primary care managers polled by the IT company In4Health said they were 'concerned', 'cautious' or 'suspicious' about health secretary Andy Burnham's promise to do all he could to protect primary care budgets from spending cuts.

The findings come after NHS chief executive David Nicholson warned delegates the financial challenges facing the health service were 'massively greater than anything any of us have faced in the past'. The NHS has been told to find efficiency savings of between £15bn and £20bn by 2014.

Delegates at the conference were equally wary of the Conservative party's health policies, with just 26% saying they believed the return of a Tory government would improve the quality of patient care.

And survey respondents were also doubtful about the Government's new initiative to allow patients to rate their GP practice on NHS Choices, with just 19% saying they believed it would give an accurate picture of the quality of a GP's care.

The NHS has been told to find efficiency savings of between £15bn and £20bn by 2014 The NHS has been told to find efficiency savings of between £15bn and £20bn by 2014

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