DoH demands a pay freeze for GPs

The DoH is once again seeking a zero per cent pay rise in return for more work in negotiations for GMS contracts in 2007/8.

NHS Employers, the negotiating arm of the DoH, submitted evidence to the Review Body requesting a general sub-inflationary pay rise of no more than 2 per cent for all NHS workers (GP, 13 October).  

But a DoH spokesman has told GP that it is negotiating from the basis of zero per cent for GPs.  

‘We want to see this year and next a higher proportion of practice income going on service improvement for patients, and greater efficiency rather than windfall profits,’ he said.  

‘That’s why in 2006/7 there was zero inflation on the contract, a more challenging quality framework system and recognition of a greater need for efficiency.  

‘That’s the basis upon which negotiations with the BMA were conducted for this financial year and will be conducted for the next.’  

The DoH also said last month that the Review Body had no role in arbitrating on GMS contract income (GP, 24 November).  

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said that this year’s zero per cent increase would not be repeated, and that the GPC was negotiating on the basis of some rise in pay in return for some efficiency savings, but it was not in agreement with the DoH about the size of either.  

‘We always knew GP earnings would rise and 2004/5 would be the biggest year,’ he said. ‘For 2006/7 we agreed there would be no rise and some efficiency savings, but we agreed we would draw a line under it after that.’  

He said that the DoH ‘may well be asking for a zero per cent rise’ but that he was clear that this year had been a one-off and at this stage remained clear in his mind that it was a one-off.  

The GPC has called for a 4 per cent increase to all elements of the GMS contract in 2007/8, including quality, in evidence submitted to the Review Body, but has not abandoned direct negotiations with NHS Employers yet.  

The Review Body will report in early 2007, and will decide whether to make recommendations. A spokesman said that no decision had been reached. 

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