GPs forecast to turn their backs on PMS

Accountant predicts there will be 'little benefit' to locally negotiated contracts in five years' time.

GPs will turn their backs on PMS contracts if GMS funding continues to rise for another three years, according to medical accountants.

Bob Senior, vice-chairman of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants, predicted that in three to five years there will be 'little perceptible benefit' to the locally negotiated contracts and that GPs will return to GMS.

Once the global sum has risen sufficiently to make MPIG unnecessary, PMS GPs will switch to GMS, he said.

Despite GPC efforts to obtain parity, PMS practices that switch back to GMS are currently not eligible for an MPIG.

'A lot of PMS practices went into this thinking there would be benefits to be had from negotiating their contract locally, but it has just allowed PCTs to squeeze GPs even more,' Mr Senior said.

Enhanced services, meanwhile, have enabled GMS contractors to provide bespoke services in a similar way to PMS practices, he added.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman agreed PMS practices would be keen to switch back to GMS, but believes it will be 10 years before MPIG becomes redundant if this year's pay award is repeated.

Earlier this month DoH director of primary care Ben Dyson advised PCTs to limit PMS pay rises to 0.7 per cent, in line with the rise for GMS practices with large MPIGs.

Mr Senior predicted that on average, PMS profits were likely to fall slightly this year, broadly in line with the downturn in GMS profits.

More than 47 per cent of GPs worked under PMS contracts in 2007/8 according to NHS Information Centre figures.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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