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GPC concerned over practice funding following NHS England’s PMS review

The GPC has expressed concerns after seeing draft plans for the redistribution of PMS funding following a major review by NHS England.

NHS England has now concluded the ‘value for money’ review it launched last summer and is expecting to announce the outcome shortly, Pulse has learned.

However, having seen the review themselves, general practice leaders have reacted negatively. The GPC has warned that many of the 40% of practices that hold PMS practices could be heavily affected – much more than the number of GMS practices to be put at risk resulting from the Government’s withdrawal of the MPIG.

The GPC also worries that the money taken away from PMS practices as a result of the review will not be reinvested into core general practice funding but that GPs will have to jump through hoops to win the money back.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘We have seen the intent from NHS England and we have made a lot of comments on that. We have raised some concerns and we hope that they will have been taken on board.’

‘NHS England has a golden opportunity to reinvest in core general practice, using some of that PMS resource to invest in core practice income, allowing practices to plan for the future, take on more nurses and provide more appointments. But our big concern is that NHS England will instead take the resource which they believe is additional payment to PMS practices out and ask PMS and GMS practices to do extra work to earn that money back again.’

‘That would decrease practice morale and make the situation in practices worse not better.’

Dr Vautrey also expressed concern for the practices most heavily affected by cuts, arguing that NHS England must put in place protective measures similar to those agreed for the most heavily MPIG-reliant GMS practices.

He said: ‘There will be far more outliers resulting from the PMS review so the principle that NHS England is offering to MPIG outliers really should be applied to PMS outliers as well. There are many more PMS practices that will lose a lot more income and we hope that NHS England responds to our concerns.’

Specialist medical accountant Luke Bennett, from Francis Clark LLP, said reinvesting the money into core funding would be crucial, as would the length of time PMS practices are given to adjust to changes.

He commented: ‘The length of time over which any withdrawal of funds from PMS practices will be spread is critical. GMS practices are having their MPIG withdrawn over a seven-year period which gives a reasonable time span to take remedial action. The fear is that any PMS “excess funding” will be withdrawn over a much shorter period.’

‘More and more practices are finding it harder to recruit new partners, and there are many partners considering early retirement. If monies saved on PMS are not reinvested into core funding, this will exacerbate the recruitment crisis in general practice.’

NHS England said it is expecting to announce the outcome ‘very soon’.