GP practices face 10-year pay freeze

GPC to tackle DoH over un-negotiated MPIG change that threatens 10 per cent of practices.

Laurence Buckman
Laurence Buckman

GPs face a further 10 years of pay freezes, according to medical accountants.

Even if the global sum increased annually by 2.7 per cent, half of all practices would see no increase in income for five years, said the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA). It would be 10 years before practices with the highest correction factors saw any rise in income.

Following last week's recommendations from the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB), any increase in the global sum will effectively be cancelled out by a reduction in correction factor payments, says AISMA.

The GPC is now in discussions with the DoH over the decision. They say it goes against the original contract agreement that the correction factor would stay the same and it was not discussed in recent contract negotiations.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: 'Do you think we wouldn't have protested if they had changed the contract? Nothing has changed. They are doing something outside of the contract.'

Reducing the correction factor will allow the DoH to phase out the MPIG, while keeping pay static, he said, adding that the move could lead to one in 10 practices closing.

'We know that the government, the Public Accounts committee, the National Audit Office and Darzi are all thinking about getting rid of the MPIG,' he said. 'They are keen to do it over a very short time scale. I am suggesting damaging practices is not the best way of improving the NHS.'

Bob Senior, vice chairman of AISMA, said: 'I don't think the penny has dropped that MPIG has now been broken.'

The DDRB report said morale among GPs was high. But Mr Senior said GPs are thinking 'life is tough enough already'.

'With no extra funding and expenses rising, I think there is a real risk of GPs flying the white flag and trying something else,' he said.

'Practices with young populations or multiple branches will lose out big time.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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