Consortia should not have to pay for old PCT contracts, say GPC

Consortia should be exempt from paying for long-term PFI deals they inherit from PCTs, or have their budget adjusted, the GPC has said.

Dr Nagpaul: DoH should come up with a fair funding formula
Dr Nagpaul: DoH should come up with a fair funding formula

As the DoH starts to explore funding allocation, the GPC has said that where PCTs have invested in expensive long-term contracts, consortia that take over should be absolved of responsibility for paying them, or receive more money.

The White Paper Liberating the NHS states that by 2013 consortia will be allocated ‘practice-level commission budgets relative to the prospective burden of disease’.

Dr Peter Swinyard, chairman of the Family Doctor Association, said moving to a new allocation formula could see some areas lose large amounts of their budget in 2013. He said that draft shifts in allocations would not be accommodated within one financial year.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the DoH ‘has three years’ to come up with a fair funding formula that ‘allows consortia to function’.

‘I can’t imagine how consortia will succeed if they take over budgets with historic debt or expensive long-term contracts. Should they be responsible for long-term fixed costs that they cannot do anything about?’

Although BMA economists are looking at the funding formula, it is ultimately set by the government, said Dr Nagpaul.

‘We need to get a system that commands confidence and is sensitive to population needs. The best way to do that is to work with the key stakeholders and let us contribute.’

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