Exclusive: PMS reviews cut up to £270,000 off practice budgets

PMS contract reviews slashed up to £270,000 from individual practices' budgets for 2011/12, accountants have revealed.

Dr McCarron-Nash: dismayed to hear fo cuts to general practice
Dr McCarron-Nash: dismayed to hear fo cuts to general practice

A 10,000-patient practice in London was forced to lay off salaried GPs and nursing staff after a massive cut in funding slashed its profits by half.

The practice was stripped of £270,000 in a review of its PMS contract, according to Laurence Slavin, a partner with accountants Ramsay Brown and Partners.

Mr Slavin told GP that 'plenty' of practices had lost between £20,000 and £50,000 from their annual income after contract reviews.

'These practices can't afford to knock the losses off their profits. They have had to lay off salaried GPs and nurses, and are therefore cutting back on services,' he said.

Mr Slavin predicted losses of this order last year when PMS reviews began in parts of London. PCTs planned to switch PMS practices onto a single rate of pay per patient to cut variation.

Practices were forced to accept the deals, because in many cases the standard PMS rate offered by PCTs was higher than the £63 per patient average practices would receive from switching to a GMS deal.

Churchill Medical Centre, in Kingston, Surrey, recently deregistered 48 care homes after a PMS review slashed its funding.

GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash said she was 'dismayed' to hear about cuts to general practice and the loss of GPs' jobs.

'This is a false move at a time when we want to save money in the NHS. We know that primary care is the most effective way to deliver care for patients, and we should be taking this opportunity to invest in practices so they can expand and offer more services.'

Dr McCarron-Nash added: 'As we see this downward turn in PMS, I think we'll see more practices returning to GMS.'

Around 40% of practices in England are on locally-negotiated PMS contracts, compared with around 60% on GMS.

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