DoH orders blanket income freeze for PMS practices

GPC condemns local contract 'mockery' as DoH imposes freeze.

The DoH has instructed SHAs and PCTs not to give PMS practices an uplift this year.

A letter this month from Ben Dyson, the DoH's director of primary care commissioning, informed PCTs that PMS practices should not receive any more funding than GMS practices.

Because 90 per cent of GMS practices will receive no increase in funding this year, PMS practices should not receive an uplift 'in the interests of equity', writes Mr Dyson.

Any PMS practice that already receives £56.20 per patient should not receive any more, the letter says.

Nottingham LMC chief executive Chris Locke said that all the PMS practices in his region earned that much per patient. 'I don't know of any practices in this region that get less than £56.20 anyway,' he said.

Until recently some PMS GPs had held out hope that they were entitled to whatever the global sum rose by - 2.7 per cent this year - due to a clause in certain PMS contracts.

Mr Locke is unsure whether there is much chance of achieving any increase in funding after the letter.

'They might try and challenge it but what is the point? It's hardly worth it in our view. The government can just move the goal posts whenever it likes.'

Mr Locke said he thought it could be the start of a push to get rid of PMS contracts altogether.

'The government was all for these local contracts a few years ago to break up the power of the BMA.

'It has woken up to the fact that by throwing money around to get people on a local contract, its policy has actually created further inequality.

'It wants just two contracts now, GMS and APMS.'

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'It doesn't surprise me at all - but it does make a mockery of the government's argument that PMS is a local contract.

'It calls into question whether it is truly a local contract. When it suits it, the government doesn't allow us to negotiate from the centre.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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