GP representatives have told GPs that there is no need to complete the registration process for Connecting for Health in order to express an interest in Choose and Book.

The British Medical Association’s General Practitioner Committee says that primary care trusts are putting practices under pressure to complete the registration process so that PCTs can qualify for Choose and Book incentive money.

Registration creates an electronic identity for each individual on the central NHS user register.

Dr Paul Cundy, joint chairman of the RCGP and GPC IT committee, told EHI Primary Care: "To use some of the Connecting for Health systems you need to register which involves getting an identity card and smartcard reader but that is not necessary if you just want to express an intention to use Choose and Book at some point."

Advice issued by the GPC following its monthly meeting last week says that expressions of interests could be verbal, on paper or by e-mail. Practices who wish to take part in practice-led commissioning are requiring to express an intention to use Choose and Book.

The first of the three PCT targets for Choose and Book incentive money requires PCTs to have at least 30 per cent of GPs registered for Connecting for Health by the end of June so that the PCT can qualify for a payment equivalent to £6,000 per practice.

The GPC says it also intends to raise with Connecting for Health the burden on practices in completing the registration form. The form allocates roles to staff to determine the level of data staff can access.

GPC negotiators also intend to request clarification on the allocation of the £95million capital funding following concerns about money being spent on upgrading hardware to comply with Choose and Book.

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