DoH must support GPs in poor areas

The DoH must do more to incentivise GPs to work in the most deprived areas, according to the House of Commons public accounts committee (PAC).

The DoH failed to meet a 2004 target to cut health inequalities in deprived areas by 10 per cent

In a report on deprivation and health inequalities, MPs said the DoH had 'failed to address GP shortages in the most deprived areas' and called for urgent action to address this.

The PAC has been examining why the DoH failed to meet a 2004 target to cut health inequalities by 10 per cent by 2010. It calls for the proposed NHS Commissioning Board to offer more incentives for GPs to target their most deprived patients with preventative measures.

'The department and the Commissioning Board should use the GP contract to link payments explicitly to GPs' success in improving the health of the neediest people in their practices,' the report says.

The committee also found that two-thirds of PCTs in deprived areas 'do not receive the money due to them under the government's funding formula'.

'In developing the funding model for GP consortia and public health, the department and the Commissioning Board should consider how funding shortfalls in the most deprived areas could be corrected,' the report says.

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