personal medical services agreement
personal medical services agreementA locally-agreed alternative to general medical services (GMS) for providers of general practice, which offers greater flexibility for the GP. PMS agreements aim to improve access to and the quality of services within primary care; recruit and retain GPs in areas of greatest need; develop new ways of delivering services; reduce bureaucracy; and help integrate services.
While legislation had allowed for PMS contracts since 1997 when the Primary Care Act went live, PMS contracts only recently began to be widely utilised; as of 2007, nearly half of general practices in England had such agreements. In Scotland, PMS practices are known as Section 17c practices, named after the relevant section of the Primary Medical Services Act (Scotland), where they constitute over 10% of GP practices. There are no PMS practices in Wales and Northern Ireland.
The defining feature of PMS agreements is their local nature. A PMS contract is locally agreed upon between the commissioner and the provider. This means that primary care service provision is responsive to the needs of the local population and are able to reach deprived and under-doctored areas; PMS pilots focused on the care of vulnerable groups, including homeless, ethnic minorities, and mentally ill patients. Unlike GMS contracts, PMS agreements are negotiated between the primary care organisation and the practice, and are not subject to direct national negotiations between the Department of Health and the General Practitioners Committee of the BMA.