GPC legal challenge halts pay talks

GPC tells PMS practices that they are entitled to a 2.7 per cent funding increase.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul
Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Talks on the promised 1.5 per cent practice income increase have collapsed while the BMA challenges the legality of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) report.

The DDRB proposed a 2.7 per cent increase across the profession. But a proposed equal cut in correction factors means that the 90 per cent of practices with MPIGs will see no rise in existing global sums.

Until it is known whether the DDRB's recommendations will be implemented or not, it is unclear how much more must be spent to reach the 1.5 per cent offer for England, Scotland and possibly Wales. Talks are on hold pending the outcome of the legal challenge.

DoH lawyers are now considering the challenge. A spokeswoman could not give a timetable for a response.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum has written to health secretary Alan Johnson to express the BMA's 'serious concerns that the report is not legally deliverable under current regulations'.

The challenge centres upon the DDRB's recommendation that paragraph 1.6 of the 2006/7 contract revisions apply in full. The relevant passage says that practices should become less reliant upon the MPIG.

The GPC believes the report gives this aspiration undue weight, while ignoring the explicit statement in the statement of fees and allowances (SFA) that correction factors should be upgraded at the same rate as the global sum.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'It's three lines that went into no detail, weighed against the legal directions contained in the SFA.'

The GPC believes that PMS practices may be entitled to the full 2.7 per cent uplift. GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'They have no MPIG, so there are no correction factors, so there's nothing to take money from.'

However, PMS practices are only likely to benefit if their contract specifically refers to the DDRB's recommendation.

A DoH spokesman said that PMS contracts were for local negotiation.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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