GPC warns of plummeting morale if pay does not rise

The GPC has warned of a 'very real risk of a return to the disastrous pre-contract morale problems' if GP pay is frozen for the third year running.

It has hit out at the DoH for its attacks on GPs and warned that further squeezes on practice income and registrar pay could result in a GP shortage.

Responding to the DoH's evidence to the Review Body demanding any GMS uplift is linked to service quality improvement, Dr Buckman said: 'GPs are achieving almost maximum scores on the DoH's own quality measures. 'One minute we are being blamed for over-achieving, now they are trying to deny us a cost of living rise.

'It's like a panto. We produce noble evidence and they produce a Punch and Judy script.'

The BMA's evidence to the Review Body calls for a headline rise of between 3.6 and 4.3 per cent for doctors for 2008/9, but offers no specific GP figures. It anticipates that GP profits, having barely increased in 2006/7, would decrease in 2007/8.

The BMA evidence points out that average GP consultation length increased from 8.4 minutes in 1992/93 to 11.7 minutes in 2006/7.

It says: 'To our knowledge the lack of increase in income over two years running is unprecedented in the NHS and it represents a worrying development.'

In response to a DoH accusation that GPs are investing less in their practices because expenses have fallen as a proportion of profit, the BMA says that the change is due to GPs not being responsible for elements of their business expenditure.

The BMA's evidence says: 'There is a good rationale for the profit ratio for GPs being higher now than under the new contract.

'The new contract deal ended the monopoly of provision of primary medical services by NHS GPs with the introduction of APMS.

'This has created a competitive ethos which means there is now a far greater degree of risk associated with running a GMS or PMS contract than there was before 2003. Higher profits are a return to this risk.'

The BMA suggests a straightforward uplift across all components of the new GMS contract.

BMA evidence

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