GPC brands employers' MPIG letter inaccurate

The GPC has written to Dr Barbara Hakin, chairwoman of the NHS Employers' negotiators, to complain that her letter to primary care organisations (PCOs) last year, stating there was agreement over the phasing out of MPIG costs, was unacceptable.

The letter from Dr Hakin, dated 20 December 2005, exclusively revealed by GP (13 January), stated her view of the contract negotiations, including her belief that the review for 2006/7 had been concluded.

The letter said: 'We have agreement that, where relevant, increases to the global sum will reduce correction factor payments and support the phasing out of MPIG costs.'

The GPC's letter to Dr Hakin pointed out the 2006/7 negotiations are ongoing because issues such as directed enhanced services and pensions need to be resolved.

It added that what was discussed in negotiations was that, if there was sufficient money invested in the global sum over and above that needed to produce a cost of living rise for all practices, negotiators would look to see if additional money could be used to reduce the reliance on MPIG.

This was a remote possibility and did not mean that future increases in the global sum would be negated by an equal reduction in the value of the correction factor, the GPC said.

The GPC denied the implication of Hakin's letter that GP income will be subject to efficiency savings. It objected to the assertion that savings can be made on the contractor population index, the figure representing average practice population. The GPC has complained that NHS Employers promised to remove this area of PCO cost growth.

The GPC claimed that this could be interpreted as meaning increases in the size of the population and, therefore, increases in workload would not be taken into consideration. There must be a mechanism for rewarding additional quality workload created by higher numbers of patients, it said.

In this month's edition of GPC News, the GPC accused Dr Hakin's letter of providing 'partial and incomplete information' to PCOs, which caused confusion among GPs

'Implying agreement where it has not been reached ... is unacceptable,' it said.

NHS Employers was unable to comment on the GPC letter.

GPC CRITICISM

- Contract negotiations have not concluded.

- Global sum increases will not be negated by the loss of MPIG.

- Larger list sizes will be rewarded, even if not by CPI.

- GP income will not be subject to efficiency savings.

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