Consortia will be paid £9 per patient

SHAs have been told that a management fee of £9-10 per patient for GP consortia will be confirmed this autumn, GP has learned.

Dr Nagpaul: 'It was inevitable that the management fee would be less than (PCTs receive) at present because of this government's pledge to cut costs' (Photograph: JH Lancy)
Dr Nagpaul: 'It was inevitable that the management fee would be less than (PCTs receive) at present because of this government's pledge to cut costs' (Photograph: JH Lancy)

The fee will cover the cost of running consortia and allow GPs to pay independent companies or local authorities to support them in commissioning services.

An NHS policy expert, who asked not to be named, said that SHA executives were told the figure is 'long term', rather than a transitional arrangement while consortia develop.

The figure is expected to be set out in detail in an NHS Operating Framework later this year. A £9-10 fee per patient equates to roughly a third of the management budget PCTs currently receive.

The recent White Paper Liberating the NHS sets out plans for a 'management allowance' that would be paid to consortia and 'quality premiums' for good patient outcomes and financial performance.

All practices in England will be required to be part of a consortium and contributing to commissioning by 2013.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it would be easier to assess whether the fee was adequate or not when it was clarified which PCT duties would be passed on to GPs.

'It was inevitable that the management fee would be less than (PCTs receive) at present because of this government's pledge to cut costs,' he said.

'Whether this fee is adequate will depend on which PCT functions are devolved to GP consortia, which is still being consulted on.'

Dr Nagpaul said the GPC would assess whether it needs to fight for more funding after the various White Paper consultations were complete.

'We naturally would want to negotiate a fee that would enable consortia to function properly. We want to make sure they are not being set up to fail,' said Dr Nagpaul.

Dr David Jenner, GMS/PMS lead at the NHS Alliance, said that the figure seemed 'quite low' compared with the funding PCTs received. 'GP consortia won't do everything the PCT does; PCTs will still be doing public health, and primary care contracting will go to the NHS Commissioning Board - but it's still not a lot of money to run a consortium,' he said

A DoH spokeswoman said the management fee consortia would receive 'has not yet been decided'.

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