PMS practices urged to make legal challenges against PCTs

PMS practices have a case for legal challenges against PCTs imposing contract changes, the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) says.

Dr Smith said LMCs have given very little support to PMS practices
Dr Smith said LMCs have given very little support to PMS practices

The NAPC has warned that PCTs are taking a ‘crude, cost-cutting approach' when renegotiating PMS deals, threatening to terminate them if practices refuse to accept changes.

NAPC vice president Dr Peter Smith said it had taken legal advice and was formalising guidance for PMS practices.

Imposing contracts was ‘forbidden' in paragraph 8 of the PMS regulations and practices should take legal action if their PCT did so, he said.

‘PCTs going down this route are on very shaky ground legally,' he said.

Recent changes to PMS regulations clarify that PCTs can only withdraw contracts where practices have breached the terms of the agreement, he said.

The NAPC has raised the issue with the DoH to try to ease PCTs pressure on PMS GPs.

Dr Smith added: ‘There has been a feeling the GPC and LMCs haven't been prepared to support practices that aren't GMS. There are notable exceptions, but LMCs have given so little support to PMS practices that PCTs have felt they can do more and more to them.'

NHS Information Centre data show 41% of practices in England are PMS, covering roughly 24.5 million patients.

Dr Jane Lothian, secretary of Northumberland LMC, rejected the claim that the GPC and LMCs were not supporting practices.

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