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Government reforms to end GMS-PMS divide

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government is to abolish the current two-tier system of GP funding in a move that will spell the end of both GMS and PMS contracts.

Details of the radical new system of GP pay, first revealed by Pulse last month – were laid out in the Government's White Paper earlier this week – which pledged to establish a ‘single contractual and funding model' for general practice.

The plans, which will lead to a wholesale dismantling of the current contractual arrangements for GPs, will link practice funding more closely with the quality of service they provide, the extent to which they are involved in commissioning, and the health outcomes they deliver.

The White Paper said: ‘The Department will seek over time to establish a single contractual and funding model to promote quality improvement, deliver fairness for all practices, support free patient choice, and remove unnecessary barriers to new provision.'

‘Our principle is that funding should follow the registered patient, on a weighted capitation model, adjusted for quality. We will incentivise ways of improving access to primary care in disadvantaged areas.'

The precise funding implications for GMS and PMS practices are yet to be established, but GP leaders urged the Government not to abandon the good parts of PMS when constructing a new single contract.

NAPC chair Dr Johnny Marshall said: ‘Just because we have one contract it doesn't mean it has to look like GMS. We think there are some important flexibilities within PMS that we should not lose sight of. We need a local flavour.

He added: ‘Because it will be based on local health needs, we can't have a national solution. We hope it will see the best of both [GMS and PMS].

Dr Charles Alessi, a GP at a PMS practice in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, said: ‘Change is necessary, but what's important is to maintain the philosophy of practices being paid on their outcomes. The new contract may look more like a PMS contract than a GMS.'

Government reforms to end GP contractual split Click here to read our full analysis of the health White Paper Health White Paper Your questions on the White Paper

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