The DoH has confirmed that practices must be allowed to keep 70 per cent of their savings, but has added that they may return any proportion they wish to their PCT.
NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said that 'in a difficult financial situation, it is the most sensible solution'.
The advice is included in a DoH-backed NHS Alliance report, 'Practice-Based Commissioning: a primary-care-led NHS'.
The report coincides with the latest DoH figures on PBC uptake, which puts practice involvement at 41 per cent.
Figures for May 2006 show that 3,454 GP practices out of 8,433 in England had taken up the directed enhanced service (DES) incentive payment to participate in PBC.
A GP survey published last month found a similar uptake figure of 42 per cent (GP, 9 June).
However GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said that writing DES plans for minor service alteration did not constitute 'full-blown' involvement.