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Specialist options revealed

Specialist PMS practices will focus on providing care for older people living in care homes, people with learning disabilities, the homeless and children in care.

The Department of Health said its vision for the scheme, unveiled last year, was for the new practices to reach people who rarely present to GPs, are less likely to access preventive care, or have very complex needs.

The Specialist PMS scheme allows practices to opt out of providing basic care and offer specific services to meet local needs.

Guidance on the scheme states: 'Specialist PMS will not normally be about general practice provision, but could encompass a range of clinicians in any appropriate grouping to deliver care in a primary care setting.'

The new practices could also extend the range of primary care services and provide out-of-hours services.

Consultants and other secondary care staff could be commissioned by primary care organisations to run the practices.

Patients would either register with the Specialist PMS provider, or the provider would simply be responsible for delivering a package of care agreed with the PCO.

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