GPs compensated for patients lost to Darzi centres

A primary care trust (PCT) is offering £1.25m to practices due to lose patients when three new Darzi centres open next year.

Photograph: iStockphoto

GPs across Stoke-on-Trent are expected to lose 200 patients on average when the new health centres open – so the PCT is offering funding to all GPs equivalent to £60,000 for a 10,000-patient practice.

The money will be linked to an enhanced service that requires GPs to achieve much higher targets in certain quality framework indicators, like diabetes and heart disease. 

The three new health centres are among the 100 new GP surgeries allocated to under-doctored areas by the DoH.

PCT chief executive Dr Graham Urwin said it was inevitable GPs would lose patients and income around the country, but that they would have more time to earn that money back.   

‘Given that the government announced 100 of these health centres nationally, and pretty much every patient is registered with a GP, then of course we will see a reduction in the ratio of patients to GPs.

‘GPs will have time available. They can do whatever they like with that time. We can buy back that time in return for work to reduce health inequalities in target groups.’

All 55 practices in the area will be assessed to see if they meet the necessary standards to take part in the scheme. Practices will then receive a third of the cash up front in April 2009.

Dr Urwin said the scheme was ‘borne out of an excellent relationship with the LMC’, with the clinical aspects of the scheme developed by a local GP.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey called the idea ‘imaginative’ but said it showed that some new health centres were duplicating services and taking patients away from practices unnecessarily.

The DoH would not comment on how practices expecting to lose patients could be compensated when new surgeries and polyclinics open next year. A DoH spokeswoman said: ‘Such decisions are best made locally.’

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