Practices lose enhanced services worth £4m

Local health boards diverted more than half of a £6.5m uplift for enhanced services in Wales in 2008/9 to other services, GPC Wales says.

Dr Bailey: ‘Ministers were clear that the money should be used for enhanced services’
Dr Bailey: ‘Ministers were clear that the money should be used for enhanced services’

Speaking at the 2010 Welsh LMCs Conference in Llandudno on Saturday, GPC Wales chairman Dr David Bailey said that just £2.5m of the cash was spent on extending enhanced services.

The comments came as GPC Wales released a document pointing to enhanced services as a factor keeping Welsh practice profits below those in England. Enhanced services account for 9.6% of GMS spending in England, but just 7.4% in Wales, the paper reveals.

LMC representatives suggested enhanced services cash had been used to subsidise services such as out-of-hours care or transporting test samples.

Representatives unanimously voted for the Welsh government to investigate local health boards' (LHBs') enhanced services spending.

But Dr Bailey warned there was ‘little commitment' from the government to address the situation.

Dr Bailey said: ‘The LHBs' actions on enhanced services in Wales have not exactly increased the confidence of GPs.

‘LHBs are arguing that the money has still been spent within the overall primary care budget, but ministers were clear that the money should be used for enhanced services.'

GPC Wales guidance on tackling falling profits said GPs could ‘work harder' by increasing consultations per doctor, reduce workload by reducing consultations and/or access, cut staff or use less use less expensive staff than doctors for some consultations.

Dr Bailey said the options were ‘unpalatable', but the only way to boost profits barring an enhanced services uplift.

Click here for more news from the Welsh LMCs Conference 2010

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