A little known document 'agreed with the GPC' stated that GPs would be reimbursed the costs of distributing choice questionnaires at the rate of 2.8p per registered patient.
Reimbursement was only to be made if more than 1.5 per cent of the GP's patients returned the questionnaires and one and a half million pounds was allocated to PCTs for this reimbursement.
Despite our handing out questionnaires to the majority of patients referred, we have only been credited with 0.77 per cent having returned them.
Discussion with our PCT revealed that it has not paid a penny under this system, because no practice achieved a high enough level of returns to stimulate payment.
This raises two questions: how do we know that the declared numbers of questionnaires received is correct? Perhaps numbers have been lowered to save the NHS £1.5 million and save Patricia Hewitt's job.
Secondly, why was this policy not declared to GPs in January as an encouragement to ensure questionnaires were given out and enable them to keep statistics to argue their case?
Can we ask the DoH, and the GPC, how it intends to reimburse GPs for handing out its questionnaires?
Dr Nigel Higson, Hove, Sussex.