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PCT clawbacks hit PMS profits

By Gareth Iacobucci

Savage PCT clawbacks are biting into the profits of PMS practices, Pulse can reveal.

Accountants' figures show the plunge in revenue among PMS practices is greatly outstripping falls across general practice as a whole.

The figures, released by Dodd and Co, revealed overall profits per partner fell by between 5-8% last year, because of a combination of the pay freeze and spiralling expenses costs.

The fall is in line with Pulse's survey last month, which estimated an average drop in profits of 7.7%.

Profits calculated per patient for its English non-dispensing practices fell by a more modest 0.9% between 2007-2008. But for PMS practices, the fall was much sharper, at 4.35%.

A recent Pulse investigation showed PCTs across the country were planning to launch a major clampdown on PMS contracts in a bid to drive up value for money.

Paul Kendall, senior medical partner at accountant Dodd and Co, said the figures provided evidence that PCTs were exerting a ‘push on PMS practices'.

He said: ‘They have really seen their income being tightened up by PCTs, and are not getting the opportunity to increase it. I think they will continue to be squeezed a lot more than normal practices.'

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC negotiator and a PMS GP in Stanmore, said the figures reflected ‘crude' clawback attempts by PCTs.

‘We know how PCTs have been applying far greater pressure on PMS practices and making changes to funding arrangements. But these figures don't show what practices for providing for their funding.

‘It's important that PCTs do not penalise PMS practices purely on a crude pounds per-head basis, without analysing what services individual practices provide. It's a knee jerk reaction.'

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