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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

'We carry the can over PBC'

GPs have no confidence in practice-based commissioning in its current form because it is designed to make them carry the can for NHS deficits, LMC representatives concluded.

Passing a vote of no confidence in the scheme, GPs demanded the Government offer proper incentives for them to take part.

But they stopped short of calling for a boycott of PBC, arguing that the principle of the scheme was sound and it could be made to work.

Dr Jamie Macpherson of Coventry LMC said GPs were a 'very easy scapegoat' if PBC failed. He said: 'Since the bees didn't swarm around the honey, they had to offer a bung for us to take it on. Now the money has run out and GPs are left holding the can.'

Dr Nev Bradley of Wirral LMC added: 'The Government constantly seeks to relieve its debt by getting doctors to provide cheaper care. PBC will fail unless we have proper incentives.'

GPs supported motions war-ning that historic deficits were being dumped on to general practice and that PBC may result in patients being deprived of meaningful choice.

Dr Helena McKeown of Dor-set and Wiltshire LMC said her PCT saw PBC as a 'demand management tool' and was trying to hold back savings to plug its deficits.

But despite the problems, GPs agreed that a boycott of commissioning would be the wrong course of action.

Dr Luke Twelves of Cambridgeshire LMC said that although the scheme was not

for everyone, it was not doomed to fail.

He said: 'As chair of a 21-

practice consortium in Huntingdon, I believe PBC will give us the opportunity to design services centred around patient's needs, rather than passive responses.'

In his speech to the conference, health minister Lord Warner admitted there were problems with PBC and that some practices did not have indicative budgets.

But he said Department of Health evidence showed all PCTs would have arrangements in place to support the scheme by the end of 2006.

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