Exclusive: Salaried GPs employed by a PCT have been given three months to prove their service can ‘pay for itself’, or face redundancy, as NHS managers try to rein in costs.
Pulse revealed in May that NHS Central Lancashire had told GPs in their salaried GP service that their posts were under review and that they would learn their fate after a 30-day consultation.
Months later, the PCT has decided that the GPs will be given a three-month trial period to see if the service they provide can become more cost-effective – although the trust has yet to tell the GPs themselves of its decision.
The GPs are employed by the PCT and can be booked by practices in central Lancashire to provide locum services, but the trust says too few practices are using the service and has put them on notice to see if the scheme can ‘pay for itself’.
Jeannette Newman, NHS Central Lancashire senior operating officer, said: ‘The service is currently being underused and is therefore not cost neutral.”
‘This [service] was set up on the basis that although the PCT would employ the GPs, the service would be cost neutral due to the recouping of sessional fees from practices who had booked them to provide locum sessions.’
‘We are working with the LMC for a three month trial period to determine whether with greater awareness-raising of the service it can pay for itself.’
Ms Newman added: ‘The decision about the three-month trial period was made last week and we apologise for not contacting the GPs sooner to tell them. They will shortly be receiving letters about this.’
Speaking in May, Dr Edoardo Cervoni, a GP specialist in ENT medicine with 17 years’ experience employed by the PCT, spoke of the ‘negative impact’ on his career and family.
‘I hope I may remain one of the very few GPs to have to experience the feeling, but it really seems that the process of dismantling the NHS is well on the go,’ he said.