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Plea to GPs to help slash pounds 1.9m debts; 'HAND OVER YOUR SAVINGS', HEALTH BOSSES URGE WARWICKSHIRE D0CT0RS.

FAMILY doctors in Warwick-shire are being asked to give up their savings to help tackle the legacy of a pounds 1.9 million overspend.

The deficit was run up in 1998-9 by practices that used to manage their own budgets until April under the old GP fundholding system.

The government scrapped GP fundholding this year and replaced it with district primary care groups led by family doctors.

But Warwickshire Health Authority and the groups have inherited the debts previously accumulated by GP fundholders in the county.

Health authority director of primary care Dr Lyn Griffiths said a key way of recovering the money was to persuade GPs who had made savings under the fundholding system to hand them over, to help bring about a county- wide solution.

It is estimated that pounds 900,000 could be recovered in this way.

Dr Griffiths said the plan had the backing of the Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs, and in a report to the authority, said: "The authority will pursue the reclamation of these funds with vigour but fully within regulations.

"This return of the accumulated savings cannot be enforced but this procedure has the agreement and encouragement of the Local Medical Committee."

The authority has also identified pounds 600,000 of savings from other budgets to help offset the deficit, and pounds 400,000 from previous underspends in the General Medical Services budget used to help GPs develop services, such as by employing extra nurses.

In response to a solution being found, the authority has confirmed that pounds 1.3 million in the General Medical Services budget can now be given to GPs this year, and that it aims to boost the allocation to pounds 2 million as soon as possible.

Health authority chief executive Anthony McKeever said the solution to GP fundholding overspending in the county was ground-breaking nationally thanks to doctors and health authority members coming up with a solution.
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Author:Hall, Paula
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 6, 1999
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