Chris Lancelot on...GP contract negotiations

Contract (n): to enter into an agreement (from Lat. tractus), literally ‘pull together'. DoH definition: contract (n) - an agreement that can be changed at will by the DoH. (From con — ‘confidence trick' — and tract — ‘polemical statement').

Or so it seems. Patricia Hewitt says that, with hindsight, she wishes the government had capped GPs' profits. Dr Barbara Hakin, chief DoH negotiator, believes that a cap ought to be considered for next year's negotiations.

Strangely enough, I don't remember this being part of the GMS contract we all voted for.

I'm getting just a little fed up with the government changing the rules halfway through and slagging off GPs for earning too much. They gave us targets, we met them - they have to pay. It is a measure of how inept the DoH and the government are that they thought GPs were clueless and lazy, and would not achieve more than 770 points in the first year of the contract. They've been proved wrong and they don't like it.

Well, tough. We are independent contractors, Ms Hewitt, and don't you forget it. When we are offered a contract for a job, that's it. The contract determines the price paid. If we do better out of it than expected, then that's your department's problem for failing to do its research properly. Or would you rather that we earned less through missing all our targets, thus letting down our patients?

If you're concerned about the NHS overspend, then in the context of overpaid people, perhaps you ought first to consider Richard Granger, on £280,000 a year plus £77,000 expenses - and all for producing the mess that is Connecting for Health. Or Sir Nigel Crisp, former NHS chief executive, who retired after just four years in the job, with a reputed overall pension package of £3.2 million.

What about your own salary, Ms Hewitt? You earn £99,908, which in my opinion is £99,908 too much, judging by your complete lack of useful output. Why don't we start reducing the NHS deficit by clawing that back?

- Dr Lancelot is a GP from Lancashire. Email him at GPcolumnists@haymarket.com

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