Funding shortage blamed as Primary Care Cardiovascular Society closes

The Primary Care Cardiovascular Society (PCCS) has been forced to close due to a shortage of funding, and other primary care groups warn they face similar pressures.

The society’s chief executive Dr Fran Sivers said the closure was ‘a huge disappointment’ and would leave a major gap in primary care cardiology.

‘A huge worry for me is how people will keep up with what is going on in terms of cardiovascular changes,’ she said.

Dr Sivers said that individual members would continue to be involved in primary care responses to consultations from NICE and other organisations.

‘But there won’t be the same 'primary care cardiovascular' voice,’ she said.

‘There is money there, but it takes an awful lot of time and effort to secure what you need to do what you want,’ she said. ‘We are not the only ones finding it difficult in these recessionary times.’

Primary Care Rheumatology Society president Dr Louise Warburton said the PCCS’s closure was ‘sad’ and that her organisation was also facing funding difficulties.

‘In the ideal world, we would receive some government funding to keep up standards of knowledge and practice amongst our GP members,’ she said.

‘Primary care societies are innovative and help to drive change and improve practice. They should have investment.’

Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology treasurer Dr John Galloway believes it is important for any medical society to take a commercial attitude to funding. 'We have to recognise that sponsors require tangible results and it's our responsibility to support them with their business challenges,' he said

'It's not easy to secure sponsorship because we're in competition with many more marketing techniques including online media however we have a clear vision, a strategy for growing membership and we're extremley  conscious of the need to embrace new ideas and fresh thinking,' he said.

However, the Primary Care Dermatology Society (PCDS) has managed to maintain its income stream despite financial pressures by developing a broad range of sponsors, society executive chairman Dr Stephen Kownacki said.

The society focuses primarily on providing training to GPs through its events and website, Dr Kownacki said. 'Our raison d’etre is education,’ he said.

The Primary Care Respiratory Society UK (PCRS-UK) also remains in a 'healthy' financial state, chief executive Anne Smith said.

‘PCRS-UK is saddened to see the Primary Care Cardiac Society close at a time of great pressure, change  and uncertainty in the NHS when professional development, support and education is needed more than ever in primary care,’ she said.

She added: ‘PCRS-UK remains in a healthy financial position having successfully diversified and developed its income streams through its conference, journal, membership and educational programmes in recent years.

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