Half would consider returning with an MPIG, and 59 per cent if growth money was protected.
Practices that return to GMS are not automatically entitled to MPIG protection, but the DoH says PCTs can ‘award and determine an MPIG based on robust supporting evidence from practices’. PMS growth funding can also be continued as part of GMS allocations or converted to local enhanced service deals.
Growth money is a top-up to core pay that most PMS practices receive. Around 40 per cent of practices in England hold PMS contracts.
Four out of five PMS GPs who took part in a GP survey said their practice received growth money. They received between £6,000 and £150,000 a year.
All respondents said their practice provided additional staff, services or both for the money. About three quarters employ extra GPs, 80 per cent extra nurses, and 60 per cent deliver extra services.
GP leaders said interest in returning to the national contract was linked to threats from PCTs to end locally negotiated PMS deals or cut growth funding.
Negotiations to end or alter PMS contracts are under way in London, East Anglia and the Midlands, but GP leaders say PMS contracts are under threat nationally.
Londonwide LMCs secretary Dr Fay Wilson said there was ‘a lot of interest from PMS practices in returning to GMS’.
‘Practices feel that PMS is not as secure as it was and that PCTs are out to get PMS practices,’ she said.
But she said most PCTs would not seek to cut practice funding to GMS global sums alone because practices would not be viable.
‘PCTs don’t want endless disputes to deal with through the appeals unit,’ she added.
Dr Mo Dewji, a DoH adviser on GP contracts, said PCTs should not ‘squeeze PMS for the sake of it’. PCTs wanting to save money should look at all contract streams, he said.
‘If PCTs are encouraged to look at only one part of primary care the loss will be greater than the potential gain,’ he said.
But GPs say PCTs are threatening to take away PMS growth funding unless practices accept more work. Medical Practitioners’ Union president Dr Ron Singer said PMS practices were vulnerable because there was no national benchmark for their performance.
Do you think PMS GPs should have MPIGs? Write to GPletters@haymarket.com
Would you switch?
would move from PMS to GMS with an MPIG.
would move to GMS if PMS growth funding was protected.
of PMS practices receive growth money; all provide extra services in return.