PMS incomes to drop by £87,000

PMS practices in Cambridge are set to lose an average of £87,000 each if PCT budget cuts are backed. Changes to GMS contracts are also being considered.

Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire PCTs have put forward plans to slash PMS practice incomes by more than 25 per cent in a bid to reduce a funding deficit of £27.9 million.

One PMS practice in the region is thought to stand to lose between £192,122 and £222,230.

The planned reduction in baseline funding to practices comes on top of £400,000 cuts to local enhanced services, particularly for minor injuries, as well as maternity and sickness cover.

Although the PCTs are considering changes to GMS practices, they have singled out PMS practices for funding cuts after identifying nine of 10 local PMS practices among the 15 most costly practices.

They have blamed the high costs of PMS practices on deals struck with early-wave PMS practices and smaller-than-anticipated practice populations.

Three options for cutting PMS funding are being considered. The first is to save £655,000 by cutting baseline PMS income to the local GMS/PMS average.

The second is to save £661,000 by clustering practices according to weighted populations and cutting the baseline of practices to the average for the cluster. The third is to save £1.4 million by cutting PMS baselines to the GMS average.

Dr Guy Watkins, chief executive of Cambridgeshire LMC, said the PCTs would not be able to apply the cuts to GMS practices in an attempt to save between £1 million and £1.4 million.

'They have talked about the realignment of GMS and unpicking contracts and MPIGs but this is well outside their legal authority,' he said. 'All the proposals are against the law and we will stop them.'

GPC deputy chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said that PMS contracts were open to renegotiation when they come up for renewal, 'but you cannot vary a GMS contract'.

Phil Wilson, director of service development for the two PCTs, said: 'We are committed to working with our GPs to identify and take forward the future direction of primary care locally.'

The PCTs last week put the cost-cutting options before their joint professional executive committee. The board was due to meet as GP went to press.

prisca.middlemiss@haynet.com.

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