This practical guide is for all general practices concerned with fundholding status. In January 1989, the Government published a White Paper on the future of the National Health Service (NHS), "Working for Patients". A central element of the change programme is the general practice fund-holding initiative. The White Paper recognized that general practitioners were uniquely placed to improve patients' choice of good quality services because of their relationships with patients and hospitals. The principal aim of the GP fund-holding scheme is to build on this situation so that patients can benefit further. It calls for the development of a management infrastructure which enables larger practices to take control of expenditure on certain services delivered to their patients. The legislation was passed as the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990. Since 1990, there has been first, second and third-wave fundholders, with the fourth phase planned for the end of 1993. This book is aimed at all waves of fundholders and provides both a historical and current view of how the stated objectives of the practice budget for GPs can develop the practice for the benefit of their patient; allow GP's greater control over the use of resources through the management of budgets and the negotiation of contracts; and encourage hospitals to be more responsive to the needs of GPs and their patients by using the regional resources. The editors combine fundholding experience at both general and health authority levels, and provide a comprehensive look at fundholding at the interface.