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Shropshire - PBC growth stalled

Initial enthusiasm for PBC in Shropshire is waning, according to Dr Mary McCarthy, the county’s LMC chair and a GP in Shrewsbury.

Initial enthusiasm for PBC in Shropshire is waning, according to Dr Mary McCarthy, the county's LMC chair and a GP in Shrewsbury.

‘Lots of people have given a great deal of time and thought to PBC – but it seems to have stalled over the past 18 months,' she explains.

Shropshire has five locality commissioning groups that cover 294,255 patients, and face the challenge of an increasing elderly population. But Dr McCarthy says none of the PBC schemes – which include a care co-ordination centre and advanced primary care services in such areas as ENT, dermatology and minor surgery – have lived up to expectations.

‘None of the projects has come to fruition in a way one would have hoped, which is disappointing. There was a lot of work put in to try and get schemes up and running, but I'm not sure there has been reciprocal input from Shropshire PCT.'

Dr McCarthy suggests this might not be the PCT's fault, as its attentions are being focused on procuring new health centres under Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review. ‘GPs can't see the point of spending money on these centres at a time when the NHS is strapped for cash and there are plenty of surgeries in the area,' she says.

Such developments might explain why 56% of GPs describe their relationship with the PCT in terms of PBC as ‘fairly poor' compared with a national average of 22%.

Lack of funding is also holding PBC back, she believes. ‘The idea is that money saved from these projects will fund them, but you need funding in the first place to get PBC off the ground.'


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