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PCTs plan to double patients registered with APMS practices

By Nigel Praities

PCTs are planning to double the scope of APMS contracts in the next few years part of a drive to standardise the number of patients registered with each GP, a national review by NHS managers reveals.

A ‘benchmarking' exercise in 80 PCTs found major variations in the list size per GP between trusts, and revealed plans to double the number of patients registered under new APMS contracts by 2013/14.

The review - conducted by the NHS Primary Care Contracting and the NHS Benchmarking Network – found the number of patients registered with each full-time GP ranged from below 1,500 in some PCTs to up to 3,000 patients in others.

Average list sizes of practices also varied sharply, from 4,100 at some trusts to 10,500 at others.

PCTs reported growing numbers of ‘super-practices' with 30,000 patients registered or more and the review noted: ‘The GP workforce is changing with the proportion of group practices growing compared with single-handed practices.'

It added: ‘The national equitable access scheme is expected to produce greater standardisation of GP list sizes with PCTs reporting plans to double the numbers of patients registered under new provider contracts within the next few years.'

Dr Krishna Chaturvedi, a GP in Southend, Essex, criticised the plans and said the document confirmed a national agenda to favour APMS over GMS contracts:‘This will create inequitable competition. It is undemocratic and heavy-handed. It will remove choice from the population and will affect certain age-groups, such as the elderly. They will have to travel five miles to the big centres they have created.'

PCTs reported growing numbers of ‘super-practices' with 30,000 patients registered or more.

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