NAPC urges legal challenge over PMS contract changes

PMS practices have a case for legal challenges against PCTs imposing contract changes, the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) says.

Dr Lothian: 'GPC supportive'
Dr Lothian: 'GPC supportive'

The NAPC warns that PCTs are taking a 'crude, cost-cutting approach' when renegotiating PMS deals, threatening to terminate them if practices refuse to accept changes.

NAPC vice-president Dr Peter Smith said it had taken legal advice and was formalising guidance for PMS practices. Imposing contracts was 'forbidden' in paragraph eight of the PMS regulations and practices should take legal action if their PCT did so, he said, adding: 'PCTs going down this route are on very shaky ground legally.'

Recent changes to PMS regulations clarify that PCTs can only withdraw contracts where practices have breached the terms of the agreement, he said.

The NAPC has raised the issue with the DoH in a bid to ease the pressure on PMS GPs.

Dr Smith added: 'There has been a feeling the GPC and LMCs haven't been prepared to support practices that aren't GMS. There are notable exceptions, but LMCs have given so little support to PMS practices that PCTs have felt they can do more and more to them.'

NHS Information Centre data show 41 per cent of practices in England are PMS, covering around 24.5 million patients.

Dr Jane Lothian, secretary of Northumberland LMC, where all but six practices are PMS, said lawyers argued practices had no case against similar imposed changes in 2007.

She rejected the claim that the GPC and LMCs were not supporting practices. 'I have received a great deal of support from the GPC and other LMCs have worked hard to support their PMS practices,' she said.


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