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Under the UK Conservative government, GP fundholding represented a major increase in the involvement of primary care doctors in the management of local service provision. The Labour government's proposals for Primary Care Groups extends and develops this role. This article examines the experiences of fundholding of a group of general practices which participated in an external evaluation of their work. Opinions about the merits of fundholding were varied. Doctors and managers expressed concern about the administrative burden and questionable clinical value of the scheme. Uncertainties about the overall impact upon professional autonomy were also raised. These reservations are consistent with discussions elsewhere questioning the role of doctors as managers within health care systems.

Original publication




Journal article


Policy and Politics

Publication Date





491 - 502