MPIG offer for PMS switch to GMS

Northumberland PMS practices offered correction factors to go GMS or face budget cuts.

PMS practices facing huge budget cuts are to be offered MPIGs to switch to GMS contracts.

Correction factors to raise the income of practices moving to GMS are being offered despite the DoH's intention of phasing out the GMS MPIG scheme (GP, 25 May 2007).

The payments are being offered to PMS GPs in Northumberland, who have until 21 January to notify their PCT if they intend to switch to GMS or accept the cuts to their PMS budgets. It is believed to be the first time MPIGs have been offered to PMS practices.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey described the MPIGs offered as 'woefully inadequate'.

'If it disadvantages them financially, it is going to destabilise the practice,' he added.

Northumberland LMC secretary Dr Jane Lothian said MPIGs would be calculated using 2004 guidance: 'The formulas are unsuitable and would not raise any practice's budget anywhere near the regional average of £65 per patient. This is a sliding scale based on list size, and it is not being offered to all practices.'

Practices moving to GMS without an MPIG would receive just £54.72 per patient.

'We are desperately looking at alternative funding to the contract. There are still a lot of angry GPs in the area,' said Dr Lothian.

Northumberland PCT met practices last month after its original cuts threatened the viability of PMS practices.

The proposals provoked outrage among GPs. Some practices faced cuts in their budgets of up to 25 per cent.

Last month a revised deal was offered, capping the cuts at 8 per cent in the first year and 12 per cent in the second.

Dr Lothian said the revised offer meant that £1.7 million would be cut from PMS budgets, instead of £2 million.

Northumberland PCT has been forced to make the cuts in order to claw back some of its £14 million deficit.

A spokesman for Northumberland PCT said that the review of all PMS contracts was in line with a DoH requirements but it did not want practices to close. 

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