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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

Tories propose to hand GPs £60bn for commissioning

GPs would be handed up to £60bn to commission re-sources under radical new proposals from the Conservatives.

The move would see GPs controlling about two-thirds of the annual NHS budget, and commissioning services directly rather than through PCTs.

The measure, outlined by shadow health secretary An-drew Lansley as he launched the Conservatives' draft health manifesto, is being seen as a step beyond practice-based commissioning or even fundholding, which was introduced by the Conservatives before being scrapped by Labour in 1997.

Dr Mike Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, said PBC needed time to bed in, and warned that more reform would ‘confuse GPs utterly'.

‘If you have everything done at practice level, how do you redesign things so that you've got enough people using the service, and so that every patient has the same access? It creates enormous inequality if services differ between practices.'

But Dr James Kingsland, chair of the NAPC, welcomed the plans, and said they were in step with everything that PBC was trying to achieve.

‘The reason why fundholding worked so well is that you had a real budget and legal responsibility. If the practice says "oh no, not more reform" they've completely misunderstood PBC,' he said.

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