GMS practices £4 per patient better off than those on PMS

Repeated contract reviews and below-par enhanced services income means many PMS practices could be thousands of pounds a year better off on GMS deals, accountants say.

Dr Nagpaul: PCTs should drop disproportionate PMS reviews and focus on the transfer to consortia (Photograph: W Fry)
Dr Nagpaul: PCTs should drop disproportionate PMS reviews and focus on the transfer to consortia (Photograph: W Fry)

A survey of 24 GMS and 33 PMS practices by accountancy firm PKF found switching contracts would give PMS practices an extra £4.08 per patient.

This equates to more than £24,000 a year for an average-sized practice with 6,000 patients. Tony Stringer, medical services partner at PKF, said the survey showed PMS profits being increasingly squeezed.

PCT contract reviews often resulted in removal of growth funding, he said. GMS practices are also seeing more enhanced service money, earning roughly £1.55 more per patient.

Mr Stringer added that the increase in profits for GMS practices between 2008/9 and 2009/10 was 1.7 per cent but the increase among PMS practices was just 0.5 per cent.

'What we are seeing is good news for GMS and now is the time that PMS practices ought to consider a move. With pay freezes and continuing pressure on profits this extra money would make a real difference,' he said.

But GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it was 'impossible to make generalised comments about PMS'. 'The contracts vary hugely according to local circumstances,' he said.

Few PCTs offer MPIG support if practices return to GMS, Dr Nagpaul said, and 61 per cent of GMS practices still need this support. Many PMS reviews were disproportionate, and PCTs should focus on the transfer to consortia instead, he said.

'For many practices, returning to GMS is not viable. PMS practices are between a rock and a hard place in many areas, they can't return, but are being squeezed by contract reviews.'

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