Dr Alan McDevitt told GP that he welcomed the Scottish government’s invitation to enter talks over what health secretary Alex Neil called a ‘Scottish agreement’.
‘I would be prepared to take a negotiated settlement in Scotland,' Dr McDevitt said. ‘It is my job to negotiate the best possible deal that I can for Scottish doctors.'
Dr McDevitt said any deal would have to vary significantly from the contract settlement the UK government is seeking to impose. He said it was 'sad' that this could widen the gap between general practice in the four UK countries.
The UK government revealed its plans for a 1.5% GMS uplift in return for more work last week. In a letter to GPs, UK GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the change was ‘certain to lead to the biggest pay cut yet for GPs, in a year other doctors expect to receive a 1% pay rise’.
Mr Neil said the DH’s offer to the BMA was a threat to the NHS and to GPs' ability to treat patients effectively. He called the UK government’s offer ‘market driven’ and said he wanted a ‘Scottish arrangement that takes account of workloads and meet the needs of Scottish patients’.
Dr McDevitt said he was happy with the Scottish government's approach. 'It is much more reasonable. The UK contract is going in a different direction. We don’t like what the UK government is doing. It is more of case of England drifting away from a reasonable contract.’
Dr McDevitt said his negotiations with the Scottish government had not started yet and refused to say what he would be prepared to accept.
But he said: ‘There will be a lot that will be separate. It is not a whole new Scottish contract but we are moving further and further apart. England will move further away and we are closer to the original contract.
‘It is very sad that the behaviour of the government will make general practice different, even further, in the four nations.’
Dr Mc Devitt backed the UK GPC's stance on the government's pay offer, and said negotiators should not return to the table ‘under the threat of an imposition’.