PMS practices lose out in pay freeze

One in five PCTs is set to deny PMS practices a funding uplift this year, a GP newspaper investigation has revealed.

Dr Kingsland: 'The difference in uplift between PCTs is because they are local contracts' (Photograph: WMS PM07@Rob Stratton)
Dr Kingsland: 'The difference in uplift between PCTs is because they are local contracts' (Photograph: WMS PM07@Rob Stratton)

Data from 59 PCTs obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show 11 (19 per cent) will not offer an uplift. Just 16 (27 per cent) plan to boost pay in line with the 0.8 per cent GMS deal.

Two months into the first quarter of the 2010/11 financial year, many PMS practices face uncertainty over funding. A total of 32 PCTs (54 per cent) had yet to decide whether they will offer an uplift.

For many practices, PCTs' refusal to uplift 2010/11 pay will compound the effects of a pay freeze in the previous year. A GP investigation last year showed that one in four PCTs froze PMS pay in 2009/10, despite DoH advice to award uplifts (GP, 24 September 2009).

The findings this year also revealed that most of the PCTs planning to offer an uplift in line with GMS for 2010/11 will ask practices to increase the number of services they provide, or improve efficiency and productivity in return.

One PCT said: 'Uplifts are subject to engagement in the negotiation process and agreement to new PMS objectives.'

Another stated that PMS practices will also have to improve efficiency 'in line with all NHS services' in order to get an uplift.

David Stout, director of the NHS Confederation's PCT Network, said PCTs' actions are likely to have been influenced by the current financial climate.

'The financial situation we are in is driving the PCTs' desire to ensure they are getting value for money, and so PCTs are linking pay uplift to other productivity gains,' he said.

Mr Stout added that PCTs wanted to be confident that practices are providing the right services at the right price, and that this applied to PMS, GMS and APMS contracts.

Dr James Kingsland, president of the National Association of Primary Care, said: 'The difference in uplift between PCTs is because they are local contracts.

'If some PCTs are giving 1 per cent, and others are giving nothing, then the problem is local negotiation.'

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