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Book Review - A Practical Guide to Fundholding

This book is written by enthusiasts who have been in fundholding since its inception. Its authors are two GPs, two fund managers and the regional primary care manager for the (old) Oxford RHA. It has an inevitable regional bias, but this is also a strength as the authors use much illustrative information from regional statistics which better illuminate the subject.

The book is unashamedly practical in its outlook, aiming to assist GPs and members of the primary health care team who are new to fundholding. It covers each aspect of the procedure, from the important preparatory year through negotiating budgets and contracts (with illustrative examples), managing the funds, monitoring, fundholders working together and aspects of the future of fundholding. It is a step-by-step walk through the fundholding maze with experienced guides.

To take one example: the section on negotiating contracts includes how to conduct the negotiations themselves, and the subsection on negotiating tactics is a classic description of the way in which negotiations work in any arena and is a worthwhile read for anyone engaged frequently or infrequently in complex negotiations.

The foreword by Virginia Bottomley ventures that the book will help those who have decided to join the fundholding scheme, and she is right.

"A Practical Guide to Fundholding" is written by Rod Smith, Shaun Brogan, Richard Stephenson, Janet Fitzgerald and Lesley Withers (ISBN 0-632-03869-1). It is published by Blackwell Science Limited, and distributed in the UK by Marston Book Services, PO Box 87, Oxford OX2 0DT (Tel 01865 791155, Fax 01865 791927).

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