GPs must 'safeguard their future' by embracing PBC

Exclusive: Top GP warns practices of danger of ignoring PBC.

Professor Michael Dixon
Professor Michael Dixon

GPs must get involved in practice-based commissioning (PBC) to secure their future in general practice, a leading GP has warned.

Professor Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, warned that practices that continue to ignore PBC will be 'vulnerable' in the future.

Lord Ara Darzi's review and the DoH's primary care strategy, both due in July, will deliver 'a shot in the arm' for practice-based commissioners, said Professor Dixon.

'You are more likely to have a future and improve your chances of expanding if you participate. Otherwise you will become an arms-reach provider,' he said.

'You will be more vulnerable in your current provider role,' Dr Dixon added.

'I think that is the future of general practice - GPs will act as local leaders of services.'

He said that the incentive to adopt PBC was 'theological', not financial, at this stage.

Dr David Jenner, primary care lead for the NHS Alliance, ruled out any new money or cash incentives for GPs in the imminent DoH proposals.

'The incentives will be for PCTs. There will be more pressure to enthuse the 60 per cent of practices that are interested in PBC,' he said.

Dr Jenner said a Conservative government would also push PBC, but would hand GPs full accountability for PBC budgets. 'Even to the point of having their core contracts removed if they couldn't demonstrate their ability to control their budgets,' he said.

Professor Dixon and Dr Jenner both told GP there would be ways to ensure those that are reaching the highest standard of PBC would be rewarded.

There will be money for the costs of organising large, well-established PBC consortia and lost clinical time, said Dr Dixon.

PBC consortia of the highest quality would be rewarded with greater budgets and responsibility, added Dr Dixon.

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