GPs in Wales reject GMS contract plans

GPC Wales has rejected GMS contract proposals for 2013/14 from the Welsh government, warning some GPs face 50% cuts to take-home pay if they go ahead.

Dr Bailey: Welsh plans 'less damaging' than England's, but not good enough
Dr Bailey: Welsh plans 'less damaging' than England's, but not good enough

GPC Wales chairman Dr David Bailey said the principal reason for rejecting the offer was that the Welsh government planned to phase out MPIG over seven years from 2014/15, in line with changes being imposed in England.

If a negotiated deal cannot be reached, the Welsh government plans to launch a consultation in 'early January' to allow it to impose the changes.

Dr Bailey warned that nearly half of practices in Wales would be adversely affected by the plans, despite assurances from the Welsh government that those hit hardest by the scrapping of MPIG would be offered some financial protection.

The Welsh government also proposed lower QOF thresholds than those set out in the UK deal, and plans to retain 59 of the 154.5 QOF points for organisational targets that the UK government plans to axe. Dr Bailey also welcomed Welsh government plans not to raise thresholds for hypertension indicators and to re-invest cash from QOF targets for reducing avoidable A&E visits into practices' global sum payments.

In Scotland, GP leaders agreed a GMS deal after the Scottish government agreed simply to explore the scope to reduce variability in funding rather than scrap MPIG, and agreed to increase QOF thresholds in just 13 domains, with no top threshold exceeding 90%.

QOF changes proposed in Wales would ask practices to match the performance of the top half of practices in the previous year to earn maximum points, rather than match the top 25% as proposed by the UK government.

Dr Bailey said the overall deal offered by the Welsh government was 'less damaging' than UK government proposals, but would still leave some practices 'utterly unviable', with some GPs facing cuts of up to 50% to their take-home pay.

In a letter to Dr Bailey, Lisa Dunsford, deputy director of primary care for Wales, said the proposals were ‘fair and reasonable and address substantially the concerns you have raised’.

She said if an agreement was not reached with the GPC, ‘the proposals will form the basis of our consultation, which will commence early January’.

A Welsh government spokeswoman said: ‘The Welsh government will be meeting shortly with GPC Wales to discuss further their concerns relating to the proposed erosion of the correction factor. We are hopeful a negotiated settlement can be agreed.’

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