GPC expects pay rise for 2008/9

The GPC will submit evidence to the Doctors' and Dentists' Pay Review Body (DDRB) this month to demand a pay rise for 2008/9.

Negotiations have also begun with NHS Employers over potential changes to the contract, the GPC has revealed.

Despite disagreements between the DoH, NHS Employers and the GPC over whether the DDRB had a role to play in setting pay under the new GMS contract, the GPC is now confident that all parties recognise its authority.

The DoH said in November 2006 that the DDRB 'has no role on the new GMS contract'.

However, the GPC submitted evidence calling for a GMS pay rise for 2007/8, but the DDRB agreed with DoH evidence calling for a repeat of the 2006/7 pay freeze.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said, last week, that the Review Body had been given a mandate to resolve pay disputes in future. He confirmed that it will be asked to look only at existing areas of the contract at this stage.

If changes for 2007/8 are agreed between GPC and NHS Employers negotiators, payment for these is 'unlikely' to be set by the review body, he said.

'We are submitting evidence to the DDRB at the end of this month about all areas of the contract. There will then be additional evidence in November and the DDRB will then make its recommendations to the government,' he said,

A spokeswoman for NHS Employers confirmed that it would also submit evidence by the end of September. The evidence will be based on responses to a survey of PCTs to ask 'what they want us to do', she said.

Dr Buckman said health secretary Alan Johnson is showing signs of being more sympathetic to GP needs than his predecessor Patricia Hewitt.

Neither NHS Employers nor the GPC would reveal details of changes they hope to negotiate.

But Dr Buckman has confirmed that pay will be high on the agenda: 'Pay is a key issue and I am certainly not expecting a repeat of the pay cuts. Costs have gone up enough and we now deserve a decent rise. GPs have coped with quite deliberate and sustained attacks from within government and it is hard to work when you are denigrated constantly and unreasonably.'

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