GPs in Wales to keep MPIG as contract deal is reached

GP leaders in Wales have agreed a GMS contract deal for 2013/14 after the Welsh government scrapped plans to axe MPIG over seven years.

Dr David Bailey: MPIG not scrapped in Wales
Dr David Bailey: MPIG not scrapped in Wales

In a deal that echoes the agreement reached in Scotland in December, practices in Wales will now be spared changes that experts warn would create six-figure swings in core funding.

Negotiations over changes to GMS are ongoing in Northern Ireland, but the withdrawal of MPIG looks set to go ahead in England under proposals set out in a DH consultation. Talks between UK GPC leaders and the DH remain frozen, with plans to scrap MPIG a key sticking point.

The contract deal in Wales will also spare practices from tough increases in QOF thresholds planned for England and allow them to retain part of the funding for organisational indicators the UK government plans to scrap.

GPC Wales chairman Dr David Bailey said his committee today unanimously agreed to accept the offer put forward by the Welsh government. Earlier this month GPC Wales rejected Welsh government proposals that included plans to phase out MPIG.

The Welsh government has now agreed that it will not remove MPIG, although the GPC has pledged to take part in ‘discussions about moving to equitable funding’, Dr Bailey said.

Dr Bailey said that any talks about standardising practice funding would take into account concerns raised by the GPC, including the particularly negative impact it could have on rural and small practices.

‘They have appreciated that there are things we need to discuss,’ he said.

Under the new contract QOF thresholds will be lower than those set out in the UK deal, with practices asked to match the performance of the top half of practices in the previous year to earn maximum points, rather than the top 25% as proposed by the UK government.

GPs in Wales will also retain 59 of the 154.5 QOF points for organisational targets that the UK government plans to axe.

Thresholds for hypertension indicators will not be raised and money taken out of QOF for reducing avoidable A&E visits will be redistributed into practices' global sum equivalent payments, ensuring that it will be received by all practices and not just the 40% who do not rely on MPIG top-ups to their global sum funding.

Payments made to practices to cover locum superannuation costs will also be paid into the global sum equivalent, Dr Bailey said.

Dr Bailey said that although he wasn’t ‘ecstatic’ about the deal he was pleased that GPs in Wales would not face the cuts to funding or increase to workload proposed in England.

‘We think we’re reached a position that is at least tenable,’ he said.

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