GPC negotiators threaten to boycott NHS Employers

GPC negotiators are threatening to discontinue negotiations with NHS Employers over the GP contract.

They are angry with the way that contract negotiations have been held and that NHS Employers has to refer to the DoH when it comes to making decisions about vital aspects of the GP contract, for example childhood vaccinations.

The GPC was unhappy about  NHS Employers’ insistence on negotiations on contract efficiencies for 2007/8 when it felt this issue had been dealt with in the 2006/7 quality framework.

The issue is to be put before representatives of LMCs, who were due to meet with the GPC as GP went to press.

Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the Scottish GPC, was scathing about the role of NHS Employers, with whom negotiations are normally conducted.

‘What’s the point of talking to NHS Employers if it is unable to make decisions?’ he said. ‘We have to decide whether we should continue negotiation with NHS Employers. It might be better to go straight to the DoH.

‘We might take the view that the GPC and the government should present evidence directly to the Review Body.’

He added that the GPC was particularly angry because of the way that negotiations were handled by NHS Employers.

‘We had extensive negotiations about efficiency savings for last year’s pay round. We felt that this issue should now be closed. We were surprised when NHS Employers tried to re-address this issue,’ he said, adding that this was one of the factors that led to the breakdown in negotiations.

GPC negotiator Dr Andrew Dearden agreed that NHS Employers could be cut out of talks. ‘NHS Employers doesn’t have a mandate to discuss such things as childhood immunisation, so when it comes to this subject, we’re wasting our time,’ he said.

Fellow GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘We would be prepared to negotiate with any body that has a clear mandate.’

One consequence of the problems between the GPC and NHS Employers is that changes to the quality framework are threatened.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘NHS Employers only has a mandate from the government when there is something to negotiate.’

But the government refuses to talk about changes to pay.

‘Nothing would happen as a consequence of that,’ Dr Buckman added. ‘Unless something happens there will be no changes in 2008/9.’

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