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PCOs made fiasco out of new contract, say GPs

Three weeks into the new contract and GPs are still uncertain about terms, enhanced services and dropping out-of-hours – Joe Lepper reports

GPs have delivered a stinging indictment of primary care

organisations over their im-plementation of the GMS contract.

Two out of five GPs surveyed by Pulse rated their PCO's performance in bringing in the contract as 'bad' or 'awful'.

GPs' criticisms included mistakes in calculating their global sums, widespread uncertainty over commissioning of enhanced services and problems with PCOs taking over out-of-hours care.

Almost a quarter of the 250 GPs who responded said they still had significant areas of

dispute regarding their new contract.

Just one in five respondents said they have agreed the contract with no caveats.

Dr John Warre, a GP in

Essington, said he still has outstanding disputes with Mid Devon PCT over how much income his practice should get. He said: 'We are not getting any accurate figures from the PCT. They keep being delayed and are being blamed on software faults.'

He added: 'This needs to be sorted out quickly as we don't know how much we can spend.'

Ramsgate GP Dr Susanna Timmins rated East Kent and Coastal Teaching PCT's contract implementation as bad and criticised lack of planning in handing over out-of-hours care.

She said: 'The whole fiasco has been muddled, unsupervised and late. Trying to work the hours we do and then listen to a load of waffle and rubbish at meetings has been very trying.'

A spokesman for the PCT said it expected to take over out-of-hours responsibility in September, a month earlier than had been expected.

Just over half of GPs who replied were satisfied with their PCO, with 5 per cent rating managers' performance as 'excellent'.

NHS Confederation chief executive Gil Morgan said GPs recognised the enormous job PCOs had faced to get

contracts signed on time. He added: 'Everyone acknowledges that there are real challenges ahead, but we know PCOs are committed to making the new contract work for patients, for GPs and their practice staff.'

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