GPs face funding cuts as PMS reviews continue

Practices in parts of England could face funding cuts this year under PMS reviews, despite a commitment from NHS England to 'pause' changes ahead of a wider contract overhaul from 2014.

Dr Robert Morley: 'staggering' practices have not been kept informed
Dr Robert Morley: 'staggering' practices have not been kept informed

NHS England has confirmed that some reviews it inherited from PCTs were 'so close to completion that it would have been inappropriate to pause them at such a late stage'.

'Some NHS England area teams inherited PMS reviews that were midway through the process and, in the majority of cases, these have been paused while we develop our national approach,' an NHS England spokeswoman said.

No new reviews will be initiated during 2013, she confirmed.

GP leaders have hit out at plans to press ahead with PMS reviews, and said it was 'staggering' that practices had not been clearly informed about whether changes would go ahead.

NHS England asked its area teams to ‘pause’ reviews in a note published on 10 April following discussions with the GPC.

The GPC wants all reviews of the locally negotiated PMS contracts halted until agreement can be reached on a centralised process as part of wider moves to equitable funding of PMS and GMS practices.

Dr Robert Morley, executive secretary of Birmingham LMC, said he had been unable to get confirmation from his local area team that reviews had been paused.

‘It’s a bit disappointing that either they haven’t stopped them or that they are not confirming to us that they have stopped them - that they are not actually communicating to us and practices what is happening’, he said.

Dr Morley added: ‘It’s quite staggering that despite this instruction being issued to the area teams, practices have not yet been advised one way or another whether the reviews are being paused.’

Wimbledon GP and GPC member Dr Paul Cundy said the local review of his practice contract was continuing, and that he was aware of another locally in the same situation.

Despite Birmingham LMC's concerns, director of commissioning at Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country area team Karen Helliwell said all PMS reviews had been paused in line with national guidance.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said he would be ‘very concerned’ if reviews were continuing. Earlier this week GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said in a letter to the profession he was concerned the government was about to renege on a series of commitments made over securing contract equity, and called for an an immediate halt to PMS reviews.

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