GPs are reluctant to take control of their own budgets according to research from the NHS Alliance, the main representative organisation of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England.
From April, GPs can take control of their budgets from PCTs and commission their own services but only 25% of GPs polled had signed up and over 50% said they would not.
Under the system, GPs will be allowed to keep half of the savings they make on their budgets to spend on services as they see fit. Ministers believe budget-holding will reduce hospital admissions as GPs will be more responsive to patient needs. The government wants to see all GPs running their own budgets by 2008.
One GP, who is taking part, told BBC News: 'I can understand the reluctance. There has been so much change in the last few years, doctors are unsure how long this initiative is going to last so many are reluctant to dive in. Time is also being taken up implementing the new GP contract, so this is perhaps too much for many.'
NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said: 'At this stage, not that many are on board and that will obviously affect how much can be achieved. I think some PCTs are forward-thinking, but others have been reluctant to hand over control.'
The British Medical Association, which is in favour of the scheme, blamed the government's delay in issuing advice - the technical guidance was sent out only a month ago.
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