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Die is not yet cast in PMS contract review

Your recent story on PMS contract reviews reported that NHS Sheffield had told PMS practices they could either revert to GMS or agree to funding cuts of more than £100,000 each.

(News: ‘‘Writing on the wall’ for PMS as GPs quit en masse‘)

We have not told practices they must agree to one or the other. We said there were three options and the negotiated outcome could be a point between any of them. The figure quoted was based on one practice’s calculation of a worst-case scenario, based on an overall figure for savings of £4.6m, and is not a blanket figure that applies to all practices. In the best-case scenario, there is no change to contract values. As we had yet to enter negotiations with practices, your article was misleading, suggesting outcomes had been decided.

PMS contracts in Sheffield have not been reviewed for five years. What was innovative and a better deal for patients in 2005 is often now embedded in the QOF and enhanced services – and some practices are getting paid twice for the same thing. Moreover, when comparing practice performance across a range of indicators, the additional funding put into PMS practices is not matched by uniformly better performance.

We are trying to bring the PMS contract back to a focus on innovation and great primary care – so practices can continue to be rewarded for introducing higher quality, better standards and innovative patient care.

We’re not doing this to cut funding. The same money is on the table – we simply want to ensure the priorities in PMS are relevant to patient care now, not five years ago.

Dr Jeremy Wight, director of public health, NHS Sheffield