Guidance for PCTs released last week outlines that any payments from the schemes must be used for the benefit of patients, and practices should keep written records of expenditure for audit purposes.
Strategies to achieve cost-effective prescribing also makes clear that payments from a prescribing incentive scheme should go into practice funds and not to individuals.
But GP leaders have called the guidelines ‘insulting’. Dr Bill Beeby, chairman of the GPC prescribing subcommittee, said asking GPs for a paper trail of how payments are used could put off GPs from signing up to the schemes.
‘If it’s only a small amount of money, practices might be dismissive of the scheme if the burden of documentation is quite onerous,’ he said. ‘It could have the effect of reducing participation.’
Meanwhile, Dr Tony Grewal, medical director of London-wide LMCs, called the DoH guidance that GPs should use payments for patient benefit ‘insulting’.
He said as small businesses GPs have always been able to balance payments for patient, practice and personal benefit. ‘It’s a nonsensical thing to say because GPs always make that balance,’ he said.