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General Practitioners: Finance

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likely financial impact on GP surgeries of the removal of funding for choice and booking and access to directed enhanced services; and if he will provide financial support for surgeries which are adversely affected. (185828)

In each of the last two years, primary care trusts have invested £158 million, equating to an average £19,000 per practice, to fund the Access and Choice Directed Enhanced Services. It was always intended that these schemes would end on 31 March 2008. This money will be available to support PCTs and practices in agreeing improvement in patient access to their general practice.

Under proposals put to the General Practitioner Committee this money would be used by PCTs to pay general practices for providing extended opening of 30 minutes per week for every 1,000 patients on their list size. There would be no compulsion placed on practices to do this, but should an average GP practice of 6,000 patients take it up and provide the expected minimum three extended hours per week, it could expect to receive £19,000 per year. When practices choose not to provide such services to their patients, this money will not be available to them.