GMS pay deal 'nowhere near' as BMA hits out over pay review body

The GPC is 'nowhere near a deal' with ministers on GMS pay for 2013/14 and will defy calls for the independent Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) not to make pay recommendations, GP magazine can reveal.

Dr Laurence Buckman: GMS pay deal is a long way off

Health secretary Andrew Lansley told the DDRB there was ‘no need’ for it to make recommendations on GMS funding for 2013/14 in a letter on 3 July.

But GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman has warned that neither the GPC nor the DH have the right unilaterally to stop the review body advising on GP pay.

Dr Buckman told GP: ‘The DDRB is an independent body, a creature of the BMA and DH, and its remit cannot be changed by one side or the other.

‘It is perfectly possible for the DH to write to the DDRB and say what it believes.

‘But we will be going to the review body as we normally do and they will make of it what they will and say what they wish.’

Dr Buckman said that if a pay deal could be struck during negotiations that was acceptable to both sides ‘we will ask the other bodies if they wish to provide joint evidence’ to the review body.

But he said: ‘We are nowhere near anything that resembles a deal at the moment.’

Dr Buckman added: ‘I do not believe that either side can prevent the review body from saying what it thinks about things.

‘Either side can ignore the output and certainly the prime minister can and has often interfered with what the review board has said. This is not a new phenomenon – it predates the current government.

‘Andrew Lansley can say the DDRB doesn’t have to express a view. We don’t agree with that. We will be giving evidence and they should make up own minds.’

A DH spokeswoman said the government was 'committed to ensuring doctors get the fairest pay deal possible in the current financial climate'.

'Last year, the Chancellor announced that public sector pay increases would be capped at 1% in 2013-15,' she said. 'The DDRB has been asked to make recommendations for how the capped pay increase should be best distributed between directly employed NHS doctors.'

She added: 'For independent contractors, decisions about the distribution of the 1% increase will be made as part of the ongoing discussions about the GP contract.'

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