Blair backs GP pay rises

Pay rises for GPs under the new GMS contract were justified, prime minister Tony Blair said this week.

Prime minister Tony Blair back GP pay rises
Prime minister Tony Blair back GP pay rises

'It was right to increase radically doctors' pay both for GPs and consultants because we wanted to attract more of them,' Mr Blair said at a King's Fund event in London.

When Labour came to power in 1997 'you couldn't get doctors to fill the posts' that were available, he said. 'Now the issue is whether you can get jobs for them all. I think we did the right thing by uplifting GP pay.'

Mr Blair denied that the government had poured too much money too fast into the NHS, and said pay rises had played a key role in enabling reform.

'People may say we wasted money by paying GPs too much, but we couldn't have gone down the path of reform without saying this was part of a settlement that would mean GPs and consultants were paid more but other providers could come in.'

Greater efficiency could always be achieved, he said. 'The concept of waste is there in any health service. You could always do things more efficiently.'

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