LMCs urged to battle PCOs’ service cuts

A PCT has decided to reinstate funding for translators in GP practices because it feared legal costs would wipe out potential savings.

GP revealed that Brent PCT in north-west London planned to withdraw £150,000-a-year funding for interpreters and translators in practices earlier this year (PCT to axe GP funding for translators - GP, 2 March 2007).

Brent PCT covers one of the most ethnically diverse parts of England where over 100 languages are spoken.

Londonwide LMCs took up the case and on legal advice warned that practices that funded translation services previously paid for by primary care organisations (PCOs) weakened the argument that it was non-core work (GPs warned not to fund translators - GP, 13 April).

Earlier this month, GP revealed that Brent PCT had reversed its decision.

A PCT statement said: 'Following further legal advice which conflicts with that of the GPs and their representatives, it became clear that the only resolution would be a costly court case which would wipe out the potential savings, which were only originally planned for one year.

'Therefore both sides felt that re-instatement was the most sensible option.'

GPC negotiator Dr Stewart Drage, joint chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said: 'It was a fairly clear-cut case.

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