FINANCE: Personal medical services contracts in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are set to be reduced by around £800,000 across the whole cluster next financial year.

The cluster of PCTs agreed in September to undertake a review of all PMS contracts. There are 184 GP Practices in Staffordshire, of which, 71 hold PMS contracts.

Across the whole of Staffordshire, PMS contracts attract a higher level of funding than GMS contracts, on the basis that additional access or service is provided. The PCT is entitled to review these contracts annually, but this had not been undertaken consistently in Staffordshire and the coming together of the three PCTs made it opportune to undertake this exercise now.

The PMS contract review required each practice to submit up to date information which was reviewed by a panel that consisted of the PCT’s medical director, an independent clinician and a non executive director. The LMC and a cluster contract lead were present at all panels as observers and to be part of discussions but not in a decision making capacity.

Following the panel meetings, the subcommittee of the PCT board reviewed both the findings and the recommendations of the panels. All practices have now been informed of the outcome of the review. There is an appeal process that practices can apply to up until the end of February 2012.

The outcome of the review is that during 2012-2013, contract values will be reduced by approximately £800,000 across the whole cluster. This will partly contribute to the QIPP savings challenge, although some of the resources will be used to support investment in additional primary care services.

In the majority of instances, the reduction of funding from practices reflects the fact that they are no longer delivering an enhanced level of service that had previously been in place.