PMS practices 'better off moving to GMS'

Around one in ten PMS practices could return to a GMS contract without incurring a financial loss, medical accountants have estimated.

Dr Kingsland: practices that moved to PMS for financial reasons may leave (Photograph: Rob Clayton)
Dr Kingsland: practices that moved to PMS for financial reasons may leave (Photograph: Rob Clayton)

The analysis comes as a GP investigation reveals that at least 1 per cent of PMS practices have returned to GMS contracts since 2008.

Responses from 59 PCTs show that 35 practices have switched back. If this rate is occurring nationally, around a hundred practices may have abandoned the local contracts.

This figure may rise, with 83 per cent of PCTs set to review PMS deals this year or next.

Bob Senior, head of medical services at accountancy firm RSM Tenon, a return to GMS is more attractive because fewer GMS practices now rely on MPIG.

Mr Senior added that what was once additional income for PMS practices was often now available to GMS practices under local enhanced service (LES) deals.

‘Practices need to look carefully at their particular locality, but I would be surprised if many of PMS practices' services could not be carried out as a LES under GMS,' he said.

Mr Senior added that some PMS practices were willing to take a financial hit to return.

‘Some PMS practices have been downtrodden by PCTs. They have been picked at year after year, so if they can return to GMS at a modest cost they would be prepared to,' he said.

Mr Senior said more PMS practices may look to return to GMS as more PMS reviews get underway.

‘We may see a high proportion of practices looking seriously at going back to GMS contracts,' he said.

Dr James Kingsland, president of the National Association of Primary Care, said PMS practices should not be forced out inappropriately. He said practices that moved to PMS for financial reasons may leave.

But he added: ‘I hope practices that adopted PMS contracts because of a service need would be able to make their case to the PCT.'

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