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NAPC offers legal support to PMS practices

By Mark Pownall

The National Association of Primary Care has offered to fund a legal test case against NHS managers aiming to unilaterally alter PMS contracts

The organisation's vice-president Dr Peter Smith said the NAPC ‘in the absence of union support…will consider backing a test case where a PCT is behaving unreasonably'. His warning will add to the tension between PMS GPs and cash-strapped PCTs looking to cut all but essential primary care services.

Dr Smith says the association already knows of high-quality practices threatened with contract termination unless they sign adverse contract variations, and is critical of GP representatives for their response, referring to a ‘vacuum of support'.

‘Neither the LMC nor the GPC has challenged this increasingly unreasonable behaviour,' he said.

He said the NAPC will be advising member practices of their rights and how to challenge PCTs. He said: ‘If a PCT is seeking to unilaterally bring about a change to a PMS contract and is threatening the withdrawal of that PMS contract without robust and reasonable grounds then NAPC believes that such action is wholly inappropriate and will seek to challenge it.'

Pulse reported last month that PMS practices across the country are being forced to sign inferior GMS contracts without the protection of MPIG. PCTs have now been given the power to serve notice on PMS contracts for any reason, and are eyeing up spending on PMS practices as prime targets for cuts, and to fund polysystems.

Dr Peter Smith