You may have been made aware of the attached letter sent today to Area Teams by NHS England.This confirms the intention to carry out reviews of all PMS contracts and their funding arrangements, as expected following last year’s GP contract imposition.The review process is expected to take two years commencing in April, but it is unclear from this exactly how long it will be before any cuts to practice funding take place, nor the timescales for this.Obviously there is considerable slippage in this national process compared to the original local process that was commenced by the PCT Cluster, and which would already have led to significant cuts in PMS practice funding in Birmingham had it not been for the LMC’s intervention.Nevertheless this is still confirmation of very bad news for the overwhelming majority of PMS practices, even if the pain is somewhat delayed.
You will also see, worryingly, the intention that new national PMS contract documentation is to be put in place.Clearly this is all rather farcical as PMS contracts are meant to be locally negotiated, and this is in the context of much talk of “local variations” to GMS contracts in the light of this year’s agreed GMS contract changes.You will also see the comment that new PMS contracts “must not be issued under the threat of termination”.This is a hollow statement which gives scant comfort to practices, as the PMS contractual regulations still permit termination on six months’ notice without reason.Of course the guarantee of a return to a GMS contract on three months’ notice still remains too, and it may well be that many of you will be seriously considering this option in the light of the increasing threats both to your PMS income and to the security of your contract.
As always the LMC is here to advise and support your practice on this and all other matters.Please share any information you receive from the Area Team about your practice review with the LMC.I have already had initial discussions with some of their primary care contracting personnel about this process and made it clear that the LMC must be fully involved.
The document is available here .
Dr. Robert Morley
Birmingham Local Medical Committee
Tel. 0121- 454 5008
Select from the drop-down list below to view an item from our news archives.