PCT deal makes enhanced services mandatory

Heart of Birmingham PCT has said practices will receive no further investment unless they move to an APMS deal that will make enhanced services compulsory. The deal would also require practice staff to wear name badges and meet standards for politeness and courtesy.

Practices that do not take part should not expect further investment from the PCT, its chief executive has warned.

The DoH is observing the scheme's progress and could look to roll it out to other areas, the PCT says.

The remodelled contract is part of Heart of Birmingham PCT's controversial plan to move 76 existing small practices into 24 'franchised' health centres. The PCT has called on the government to allow other trusts in under-doctored areas to have the power to create similar contracts.

Talking exclusively to GP, Heart of Birmingham PCT chief executive Dr Sandy Bradbrook described how the PCT's Complete Care Franchise (CCF) will 'probably take the form of an APMS contract, with extras bolted on'.

Dr Bradbrook said: 'You have to deliver your core GMS or PMS contract, but in addition we want you to deliver this wider range of services, and make sure you are recording what's going on - including front-of-house activities and how people should present a good face to patients.'

Dr Bradbrook said that although the scheme was voluntary, practices that did not sign up should not expect any more investment. 'They are not part of our strategy,' he said.

Heart of Birmingham's director of public and patient involvement, Rehana Ahmed, said the PCT's contracts would include standards to improve patient experience, involving cleanliness, GPs' attitude, how quickly the phone is answered, and surgery waiting times.

'We want to create a set of patient pledges - to say "this is the standard you can expect from this GP practice".

'There are small changes we can introduce, like name badges, that will deliver immediate improvements.'

However, Birmingham LMC executive chairman, Dr Robert Morley, said the deal asked 'way above' anything that has been required in a primary care contract before. 'It doesn't have the safety of the national contract,' he added. 'And how do you measure GPs' attitude? It all smacks of extreme superficiality.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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