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PMS practices slash opening hours

By Ian Quinn

Funding cuts are forcing PMS practices to start slashing their opening hours – sabotaging the Department of Health drive to extend access.

Pulse has learnt that one practice in Surrey, which has seen its funding slashed by 12.5% after the trust brought in a new across the board PMS funding deal of £75 per patient, say they have been left with no option but to make deep cuts to opening hours.

Dr Stephen Jefferies, a GP at the Leith Hill Practice, near Dorking, said it had made the decision to begin closing its branch surgery at 1pm instead of 5.30pm and reducing the hours of its main surgery by an hour each day.

‘It's absolutely tragic and a direct result of the PCT cutting our budget by 12.5 % as part of a cost saving exercise,' he said.

‘We've all taken a massive cut in personal income and we've all agreed to cut our hours so we can maintain the quality of our services.'

Shelley Eugene, head of primary care contracting at NHS Surrey, told Pulse the PMS review had brought ‘equity across the county' in GP funding, adding:

"The standardised contract includes a common global sum equivalent for practices, which is still higher than the current GMS average. This has meant an increase in funding for practices below the global sum equivalent and a reduction of payments to higher paid PMS practices phased over the next five years.'

However, Surrey and Sussex LMCs told Pulse that 90% of PMS practices had lost out.

Nils Christiansen, managing director at medical legal firm DR solicitors, confirmed that the brutal round of PMS negotiations had resulted in GPs in other areas being forced to make redundancies and cut back on services.

PMS practices slash opening hours

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