Extra prevalence funds for Wales

The Welsh Assembly government looks set to include extra money in payments to Welsh practices from April 2006 in recognition of their higher workload.

The money will help compensate practices for an estimated loss of £4,000-£5,000 per practice because higher disease prevalence in Wales means GPs there have to work harder to earn equivalent quality pay to the rest of the UK. It is unclear how much practices will receive.

The money was agreed after GPC Wales pointed out that it was inherently unfair that simply by being in a Welsh practice GPs lost money even though they worked as hard as other UK GPs.

GPC Wales chairman Dr Andrew Dearden said he was confident that there would be a payment for 2006/7, but he admitted that he did not know about subsequent years.

'The agreement recognises the increased workload that comes from having a higher disease prevalence. I would prefer to have a single system that recognised this in perpetuity. But the solution for this year is acceptable.'

However, the extra funds could be offset by a Welsh Assembly government check on the accuracy of practice quality returns because prevalence was higher than expected in some areas.

Last year GP revealed that GPs in Wales had to work up to 20 per cent harder than elsewhere to earn the same quality pay.

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