PCT's £35,000 practice fines for 'overprescribing' illegal.

GP leaders have condemned as illegal a PCT plan to cut up to £35,000 per practice from global sums if GPs do not meet generic drug prescribing targets.

LMC leaders believe East Riding of Yorkshire PCT has taken legal advice over whether it can impose a system that would see GPs' income docked for failing to prescribe efficiently.

The plan envisaged PCT assessors visiting practices and asking about rates of generic prescribing, focusing on statins.

If practices were found to have 'overprescribed' expensive non-generics, a cash amount equivalent to the perceived overspend would be withheld from their core pay.

The PCT has said that if practices prescribed as many generic statins as the most efficient 25 per cent of PCTs in England, it could save £1.4 million a year, or £35,000 per practice in the area.

The PCT's move follows an Office of Fair Trading report in March that called for the GMS contract to be altered to force GPs to prescribe more generic drugs (GP, 2 March).

Speaking after the conference, East Yorkshire LMC member Dr James Laing said the PCT believed all GPs were overprescribing expensive statins.

'The PCT wanted to identify each patient where you had "overprescribed" and then withhold the money from global sums until you start saving the money,' Dr Laing said.

Speaking after the conference, BMA clinical and prescribing subcommittee chairman Dr Peter Fellows said the plan was 'illegal'.

A spokeswoman for East Riding of Yorkshire PCT said it worked with practices to encourage a 'developmental approach to improving prescribing behaviours'.

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