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Targets destroy GPs' trust in managers

A glut of national NHS targets is undermining GPs' relations with primary care organisations and deterring doctors from attempting to influence local decisions, research has concluded.

The study by the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre said the focus on national priorities could jeopardise trust between PCO managers and GPs as managers' jobs were dependent on the targets being met whereas GPs' were not.

'It may be hard to sustain [GPs'] active engagement if the rhetoric of devolving responsibility to frontline professionals turns out to be

little more than responsibility for implementing centrally imposed policies and targets,

plus responsibility for the consequences if these targets are not met,' the research concluded.

The study, published in a book ­ The New Primary Care ­ said GPs' relationships with patients were at risk if local needs were not adequately catered for.

The Government-funded report into PCOs' performance also warned that doctor/

patient relationships and efforts to improve GP recruitment and retention could be damaged unless GPs were more involved in managing the NHS.

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