Practices face 7% cut in income

Disorganised practices will lose up to 7 per cent of their income in 2007/8, according to the chairman of the GPC's commissioning and service development sub-committee.

Speaking at the Primary Care Live conference in east London, last week Dr Nigel Watson, who is also Wessex LMC chief executive, warned that despite pay freezes in 2006/7 and 2007/8, not all practices are controlling expenditure efficiently. Accountants have forecast a drop in income of between 5 and 7 per cent for such practices, he said.

'There has been little increase in the global sum for the last four years. More money is needed in the global sum, not in the quality framework,' he said.

'The DoH is making it harder to achieve quality framework targets, and wants to remove some of the administration side of it.'

But Dr Watson said it was professional management that was needed to control spending: 'The best practices now have to have good professional practice managers, where we used to just have senior receptionists.'

Staff budget, locum cover, stationery and building costs were the areas where expenditure and efficiency could vary unpredictably, he said.

'It's not one thing in particular. Very efficient practices will maintain their incomes because they carefully measure their spending against their income.'

Dr Watson warned that badly organised primary care organisations could affect payments coming into a practice.

He told his audience including GPs: 'Ensure you are paid for what you do. We have seen examples of practices getting paid for things they didn't do.

'The system of payment is not simpler than the big Red Book. Some people struggle to understand the PMS statements.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com.

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