PCTs targeting PMS practices one by one

The GPC has warned that PCTs are now targeting practices individually in an attempt to change their PMS contracts.

After unanimous opposition to countrywide changes to PMS contracts in Suffolk, Waltham Forest PCT in north-east London has given up threatening similar changes and begun to offer deals individually, according to the GPC.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman warned the tactic has become widespread and encouraged practices to contact their LMC if they were approached.

'This is an attempt to pick you up and get you to agree to terms you would not normally agree with. They might say everyone else is doing it, or that if you don't sign it will get worse.'

Dr Buckman advised practices to reject any proposed changes to their PMS contracts. 'Practices are inevitably going to do better if you are all together, to ensure the contracts are equitable and everyone is getting the same. It allows practices to work collectively through their LMC.'

The GPC and Suffolk LMC have been opposed to changes in PMS contracts which would mean 4 per cent of funding to a practice would only be paid if targets set by the PCT were met.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said that the Suffolk example was seen as a pilot for the rest of the country, and that proposals were 'immoral, unfair and unworkable'.

Dr Phillip Evans, from Suffolk LMC, said: 'Basic funding has never been dependent on reaching targets. All 46 PMS practices are unanimous in opposing these changes. If we refuse to accept, then service to half a million people would cease.'

Dr Buckman said to accept the proposed changes to PMS contracts would be 'unethical'.

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