Plans have been announced to launch a third wave of Personal Medical Services pilots in April 2001. The 269 pilots already in operation provide innovative services which are changing the NHS culture.The pilots seek to reduce waiting times and to improve access and convenience. They provide minor surgery on site and sift referrals so that surgeons only see patients that require surgery. Pilots have also been set up to address problems such as difficulties in attracting GPs to particular areas and providing a service for homeless people and travelling families. Measures adopted by pilots include employing salaried GPs, setting up integrated primary health care teams and nurse led teams.
Because the Personal Medical Services approach can target specific local problems, the next round of pilots will focus on social exclusion, meeting the needs of deprived communities and supporting general practice and primary care clinicians.