The contract affects 40 PMS practices covering 288,000 patients - 90 per cent of the local population. GPs in the area had no choice as the PCT were preparing to bring in private providers, said Northumberland LMC secretary Dr Jane Lothian.
Practice budget cuts have been capped at 3 per cent for the first year and 6 per cent for the second, but there is no guarantee after that.
Northumberland, alongside Suffolk, is thought by the GPC to be a test-bed for budget cuts to PMS budgets nationwide.
Julie Johnston, chair of the PMS negotiators in Northumberland, said small rural practices and some large urban practices are anxious about their long term viability.
‘Unfortunately, the redundancies of a number of front line clinical staff are unavoidable as a result of these funding cuts,' she said.
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