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Our Manchester accountants will be watching closely over the coming year to determine whether a one-year Department of Health pilot scheme will have any effect on accounting for doctors in the city and its surrounding area.

Both Manchester and Salford have been selected – along with London and Nottingham – for a scheme the Department of Health says is aimed at “improving patient choice”.

This gives patients the choice of which GP to visit, meaning they can attend a clinic close to their workplace if they prefer, rather than one close to their home.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley says: “This is part of a range of measures we are introducing to shift the NHS to put patients’ interests and desires at the heart of services.”

While the shift towards better services for patients is positive in principle, our Manchester accountants are keen to spot any impact the scheme has on doctors’ working conditions in the region.

For instance, by removing the direct link between GPs’ surgeries and their location, the pilot programme means population sizes are no longer an inherent indicator of how busy a particular clinic may be.

This makes workloads much harder to forecast, something we will be considering while accounting for doctors in Manchester and Salford over the coming year if any knock-on effect on income or working conditions should happen to arise.