Attacks on PMS contracts threaten localised healthcare, warns NAPC

PCTs are undermining plans to create an NHS tailored to local needs by imposing arbitrary cuts to PMS practices' funding and attempting to force them to switch to GMS deals, the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has warned.

NAPC chairman Dr Charles Alessi: PMS under threat
NAPC chairman Dr Charles Alessi: PMS under threat

The NAPC has been in discussions with the government to highlight fears over the future of the PMS contract after it received ‘a substantial number of reports’ of PCTs slashing PMS budgets and forcing practices to return to GMS contracts.

Earlier this year, GP reported that almost one in 20 PMS practises in England had returned to a GMS contract because of reduced PCT funding.

NAPC chairman Dr Charles Alessi said that said that the locally agreed PMS contract fitted perfectly with the Health Act’s ambition to localise healthcare.

Dr Alessi said: ‘PMS contracts embody the principle of localism, and the tailoring of healthcare services to reflect the specific needs of local patients.

‘Patient groups are not homogenous and one contract does not fit all requirements. Moreover, there are patients in various parts of the country who would be and are being seriously failed by the insistence upon the adoption of the GMS national contract.’

‘This is a position, which NAPC considers is a failure of the current healthcare system, but one which can be and is remedied by the principle of localism.’

NAPC president Dr James Kingsland, who was DH clinical lead for PMS development from 1999 to 2002 argued that localism would be key to the future of the NHS under the Health Act.

He said: ‘It is the only way in which patients can be placed firmly at the centre of all healthcare they receive - another of the cornerstones of the Health Act.

‘In future negotiations of primary care contracts, healthcare will fail, without the acceptance and embrace of this principle.’

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