Labour 'did not understand' what GPs do, Lansley says

Labour's 'insufficient understanding' of GPs' role meant practices were given more money than intended under the new GMS contract, health secretary Andrew Lansley has said

Giving evidence to the Health Select Committee on Tuesday, Mr Lansley said the negotiations leading to the 2004 GP contracts failed in ‘substantial measure’.

He said one of the fundamental problems of negotiations, in particular for the QOF, was that the government had ‘insufficient understanding’ of the nature of GPs' job.

‘They [the government] assumed that the average QOF points score would be 750 but it ended up around 950,' he said. 'Each one of those points was worth around £250. So of course they were paid a lot more than they were intended to be paid.’

He added: ‘I don’t think that was entirely that the BMA ran rings [around the government] although there might have been some element of that.’

Mr Lansley said, however, that he does not start with a ‘blank sheet of paper’ and will not be soft-touch during contract negotiations.

‘I start with not only having been very clear over a substantial period of time about the nature of contract responsibilities we are asking GP to take on and indeed a range of conversations that extends back some time with the GPC about precisely how we would do that,' he said. ‘The chairman of GPC [Dr Laurence Buckman] said he did not think I would be a softy - he is right.’

Editor's blog: Health White Paper should mean more pay for GPs

 Click here to view health White Paper 2010 news and analysis

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