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GPs are accused of using profits from commissioning to meet practice expenses

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1471 (Published 04 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1471
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

GPs have been accused of lining their own pockets by using the savings made from practice based commissioning to provide basic practice equipment such as chairs, examination couches, air conditioning units, and blood pressure monitors. Because such equipment is meant to be bought from practices’ earnings, use of another source of funds potentially enables GPs to take a higher proportion of those earnings as income.

An investigation by the Health Service Journal, which made requests under freedom of information legislation, found examples amounting to several millions of pounds among 50 primary care trusts, covering 650 general practices.

The findings have divided opinion. Clare Gerada, chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, told the journal that GPs “needed to be protected” from potential conflicts of interest. “There has to be the right spirit …

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