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DH will ‘straighten out’ PCT debt

By Ian Quinn

The Government has vowed to ‘straighten out' the issue of PCT debts transferring to GPs as a matter of urgency, as Pulse's A Clean Slate campaign places ministers under pressure to find a solution.

The pledge came as GPs in cash-strapped parts of the NHS warned the prospect of inheriting debts was severely denting enthusiasm for commissioning.

Health minister Earl Howe told the NHS Alliance conference last week he was aware that GPs' fears over debts were hitting support for the white paper. ‘We are working to straighten this out,' he said.

Dame Barbara Hakin, the national managing director of commissioning, told Pulse the Government was ‘working very hard' to sort out the issue.

More than 200 GPs have given Pulse's campaign their backing so far, adding their voice to organisations including the BMA, RCGP and NHS Alliance, after we revealed earlier this month that a quarter of all PCTs in England faced ending this financial year in the red.

The picture has deteriorated even since then, with latest documents from NHS London, the country's biggest SHA, warning the number of trusts set to end the year in deficit in the capital has now reached double figures.

Dr Ruth Glover, a GP in Harrogate, said: ‘By pledging the deficit will be cleared, Andrew Lansley will be showing he intends GP commissioning to work.'

Dr David Pelta, a GP in Southend and supporter of our campaign, persuaded his local MP, Conservative David Amess, to join GPs in confronting NHS South-East Essex over lack of financial transparency: ‘We wanted them to be open about what we're up against.'

Dame Barbara Hakin: Government 'working very hard' to resolve debts issue Dame Barbara Hakin: Government 'working very hard' to resolve debts issue Click here to read more about our campaign A Clean Slate campaign