Government hands GPs budget control

Plans to allow GP practices to manage their own commissioning
budgets are to be rolled out across the NHS, health minister John
Hutton said last week.

From April, practices will be able to receive “indicative budgets”
from their primary care trusts, make their own secondary care
commissioning choices, and retain half of the savings.

The scheme has been piloted in north Bradford for four years where
it led to a fall in waiting lists.

NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon said the change could reignite
the enthusiasm of front-line GPs and practices.

Paul Burstow, health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, said
the initiative could “put patients in the driving seat” but warned
that plans should involve nurses, therapists and pharmacists as
well as GPs.

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