GPs fear that opting out cost may increase

GPs fear the DoH will seek to increase the cost of opting out of 24-hour responsibility, after a former GPC negotiator said the deal secured in 2004 was far better than expected.

GP leaders have pledged to resist any attempt to reprice out-of-hours opt-outs, but they accept that the DoH could ultimately impose it.

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: 'Anybody can try to unpick anything. We would resist it strongly - it would be another part of the contract the DoH was reneging on.'

Under the new GMS contract, practices' global sums were cut by 6 per cent if they chose to opt out of out-of-hours work. PMS practices that opted out had baseline funding cut by the same percentage.

But last week, former GPC negotiator Dr Simon Fradd told the BBC that securing the end of 24-hour responsibility for this amount had stunned negotiations.

He admitted that the fact that GPs voted heavily in favour of the new contract suggested that the DoH 'could have asked for a larger reduction'.

Dr Fradd later admitted his comments were 'unfortunate' and said that the new contract had rescued NHS general practice from a 'state of crisis'.

But the comments have sparked fears that the DoH could seek to change the deal.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com  

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