- Fundholding by general practices is the most innovative and potentially far reaching aspect of the NHS reforms. It also raises the most potential difficulties in implementation. The study falls into two parts. The first is a description of the preparatory period from January 1990, soon after practices were asked if they were interested in joining the scheme, to April 1992 when the practices took on their budgets. This report covers the first phase of research and is essentially a preliminary look at the launch of the scheme. The second phase of the research will cover the first year of fundholding proper and will concentrate on the budget process, the management of the practices and the service outcomes insofar as these can be measured. The research is concentrated in three regions: region A covers London and the Home Counties, and had 13 first wave fundholders; region B covers London and the Home counties, and had 23 first wave fundholders; region C covers a rural area with some medium-sized towns, and had nine first wave fundholders.