DES pay claim angers GPC

A national newspaper has declined to publish a letter from GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman accusing it of inaccurately reporting that GPs were demanding more cash to save the lives of patients with learning disabilities.

On 4 November The Guardian reported that GPs were to be paid £100 a time for monitoring the health of people with learning disabilities. It said that such patients are suffering ill health and 'even premature death' due to inadequate care.

'But the (BMA) has demanded (GPs) be paid extra for the annual health checks,' the paper added. 'And ministers have conceded.'

In fact, the paper was referring to the learning disabilities directed enhanced service (DES), set up in April. In his letter Dr Buckman wrote: '(This) good news... was the result of an agreement between the BMA and NHS Employers.

'This was not funding that the BMA demanded... but money that was agreed by both sides as being absolutely necessary to resource the extra work.'

The BMA's public affairs department has complained to the newspaper's editor over its failure to publish the letter.

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