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GPs shun switching to PMS as growth money dries up

GPs' interest in PMS is waning, a Pulse investigation has found.

Strategic health authority figures show a 30 per cent drop in applications from GPs to switch to PMS in November compared with the last wave in April.

Of the 17 authorities that revealed their results for the 5b wave, six reported a major drop in applications and four others had seen a fall. In only two areas were significantly more GPs switching to PMS.

Around 12,000 GPs, 38 per cent of the total, have turned to PMS since the scheme was launched in 1998.

But GPs said a lack of growth money and continued uncertainty over benefits to PMS practices from the new GMS contract had caused interest to fade.

Dr Kailash Chand, medical secretary of West Pennine LMC, said GPs now recognised they could get the same benefits from the new GMS contract.

'Quite a few GPs feel what they wanted to get out of PMS they can now get out of GMS,' he said. 'The growth money has also dried up.'

Dr Charles Zuckerman, medical secretary of Birmingham LMC, said one or two practices in the area were switching back to GMS, but warned problems with the new contract could still lead to an exodus of GPs to PMS.

Cumbria and Lancashire reported PMS applications were down from 26 to eight. Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire reported a similar fall.

Birmingham and the Black Country, North and East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and Dorset and Somerset health authorities

also had far fewer applications.

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