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GPC's exaggerated claims on QOF losers starting to pay dividends

Are all of London’s 31 PCTs really preparing to stand by and watch the practices losing most under the QOF prevalence shakeup go to the wall?

By Steve Nowottny

Are all of London's 31 PCTs really preparing to stand by and watch the practices losing most under the QOF prevalence shakeup go to the wall?

That was the charge laid against them by the GPC last week. GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman warned in no uncertain terms that a significant minority of PCTs – including, apparently, every single one in the capital – had failed to begin talks on how university practices could be supported to ensure they remain viable.

Well, it appears someone, somewhere has got their wires crossed. I've spoken to a handful of London PCTs this week, and at least three claim that talks are already underway.

NHS Barking and Dagenham told me:

'NHS Barking and Dagenham wrote to all practices in December suggesting they review the implications of the changes using the agreed template. One practice responded. The organisation separately assessed each of its practices itself and reviewed the outcome at a Primary Care Contracting Group meeting, chaired by the PEC Chair. The LMC is also represented on this group.'

Richmond and Twickenham PCT also claim to have met with the LMC (although another meeting is set up for mid-March), while according to one practice under threat, individual GPs are already in the early stages of discussions with Westminster PCT.

The GPC, then, may have overstated its case – as indeed it appears they did with the numbers. Senior GPC figures privately suggest Dr Buckman's estimate that ‘tens, maybe hundreds' of practices could close was slightly overegging the pudding.

But then, look at the other trusts in London I spoke to this week. Neither Camden nor Hammersmith and Fulham PCTs have yet discussed the issue – but they are now saying they will meet their LMCs imminently, the latter on March 9.

So, it appears the GPC's dire warning is starting to pay dividends. It couldn't be that the committee deliberately exaggerated the threat to get the trusts lagging behind to sit up and take notice... could it?

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman couldn't deliberately have overstated his case to make London PCTs take action - could he? GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman Recent blogs

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