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PMS may be hindering GP recruitment, trusts argue

Primary care trusts have argued that PMS is failing to solve the recruitment crisis and may even be hindering their efforts to bring in GPs.

The views are a setback to the Government, which trumpeted the success of PMS last week after hitting its NHS Plan target to get a third of GPs into the alternative contract.

In its response to the Department of Health figures, the GPC also pointed out a massive rise in the number of vacant PMS posts over the past year, up to 15 per cent from 4 per cent.

Dr Lis Rodgers, chair of Doncaster West PCT professional executive committee, said she suspected PMS had been a 'hindrance' to her trust's effort to fill its 11 vacancies.

A GMS practice had declined to take over a vacant PMS singlehanded practice because it did not like the contract, she said, while a practice that secured growth funding for an additional partner has been unable to recruit one.

Dr Rodgers, a singlehanded GP in Barnburgh, Doncaster, said: 'We wondered if people were not applying for the posts because they were PMS. There is not a big enough pool of doctors out there. I don't think whether a practice is PMS or GMS is of any relevance.'

Dr Prasad Rao, professional executive committee chair of South Stoke PCT, said PMS had attracted two new GPs to a new practice, but an existing PMS practice had been unable to recruit a partner for over a year.

He said candidates for salaried posts were often put off by having to negotiate directly with PMS practices over terms and conditions.

'Whatever a practice might say publicly might be different to what is said in private and trusts can't monitor the contracts between different partners in the practice,' he added.

The views of trusts come as it emerged that a PMS pilot in Whitechapel, east London, is in danger of folding because it cannot find a GP to take on the surgery.

The newly created practice managed to recruit a GP in January but the newcomer left in autumn. The locum recruited as a replacement also quit last week.

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