DoH threatens third pay freeze

GPs could face third freeze on global sum and quality payments in 2008/9 if there is no agreement with the DoH efficiency savings and changes to service levels.

However, the GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman warned that this would create a ‘very real risk of a return to the disastrous pre-contract morale problems’.

In evidence to the Review Body, the DoH says any uplift to practice income should be dependent on either ‘changes’ to GP income streams, ‘efficiency gains by general practice’, ‘movement’ on the
MPIG and ‘improvements’ to the quality framework.

It also wants a balancing mechanism to increase the amount of profit GPs reinvest in practices which it claims has fallen as a proportion of profits despite GP income increasing by 55 per cent between 2003/4 to 2005/6.

The evidence says: ‘The government expected a certain level of profits to be invested back into GP services, to bring about further improvements in services for patients. This has not been the case.’

The DoH also accuses GPs of driving down their costs and maintaining profits, particularly in response to successive pay freezes since 2006/7, by squeezing practice nurse pay and employing more salaried GPs.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

View the DoH review

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