DoH 'wanted all but 10% of practices off MPIG'

The government would have liked to remove MPIG from all but a tenth of practices, but shied away from imposing a deal, Alan Johnson has admitted.

Alan Johnson

Speaking at today’s NHS Alliance conference in Bournemouth, the health secretary said: ‘We’d have liked to have done a multi-year deal, and couldn’t. But we didn’t want to go to an imposition on this.’

If the DoH had imposed a deal, it would have removed MPIG from all but a ‘hard core’ of 9 per cent of practices, he said.

About 90 per cent of practices are currently thought to be on MPIG.

Mr Johnson contradicted his colleagues, who earlier this week said that, under this week’s deal, the guarantee would be gone altogether by 2014.

'If we carried on with this kind of deal and repeated it, which I think is a likelihood, there’ll be 25 per cent of practices left’ on MPIG within five years, he said. ‘And those ones really need it.’

But he added that, ‘it'll be difficult for next year’s negotiators to suddenly go backwards on MPIG. I think we've started a process that'll carry on.’

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