DoH is urged to kick start PBC with cash incentives

PCT reluctance to hand power to GPs has left the future of practice-based commissioning (PBC) in the balance, according to a National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) survey.

The body is now calling on the DoH to resolve the fundamental issues that have plagued the policy since its inception in 2004. The NAPC recommends a raft of measures including the use of consultancy firms to improve the efficiency of PBC consortia, some of which it says are little more than 'loose associations of practices'.

The organisation also suggests more incentive payments are needed to encourage GPs to become involved in PBC.

The survey, of over 200 health professionals, found high workload and low morale are also factors that prevent GPs from engaging with PBC.

But where GPs do invest time and energy in PBC, many are held back by 'PCT bureaucracy and protectionism', the study found.

The findings echo those of a recent GP investigation that found the success of PBC varied massively between PCTs, with a third (35 per cent) failing to identify any savings last year.

NAPC president Dr James Kingsland said barriers and solutions to the successful implementation of PBC have remained unchanged. 'While there has been progress towards the adoption of PBC at practice level, with pockets of good practice identified around the country, there still remains a significant tranche of general practice which is either disengaged or disenfranchised.'

NAPC chairman Dr Johnny Marshall said the future of PBC is now 'in the balance', resting with policymakers at the DoH.

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