Why practices deserve a pay increase

A team from GP spent three days last week producing daily editions for delegates at the RCGP's annual conference in Bournemouth. It was fascinating to get up close and personal with the 800-strong audience.

This week GP splashes on the comments in Bournemouth by GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey that pay awards will be 'a challenge for the next few years'.

In these credit crunch-obsessed times it is perfectly understandable that everyone should consider tightening their belts.

However, one of the aims of GP's Valuing General Practice campaign was to publicise the fantastic work that practices are doing.

Those of you in England are achieving near-maximum quality framework scores, extending hours, becoming involved with practice-based commissioning and happily taking on work from secondary care.

All at a time when the DoH is introducing GP-led health centres that potentially threaten the future of your business.

It's not just in England of course where you are excelling. Practices in Scotland and Northern Ireland have also improved scores while complying with government policies, we await the Welsh results.

It shouldn't be forgotten that practices would have had their incomes frozen for four consecutive years if global sums were not increased in 2009/10.

Meanwhile, there were two things that struck GP particularly at the conference.

Firstly, how aggrieved so many young GPs are about being denied partnership opportunities at the start of their careers thanks to the new GMS contract.

And, secondly, how moved so many were by the inspirational speech by Dr Don Berwick about NHS values, which sparked a standing ovation and tears. GPs clearly believe in the essential good of general practice and the need to continually improve quality of care for all patients.

This is the main reason why practices deserve a pay increase. And it should not be a weakness the government exploits to weasel out of giving them a pay increase - for the fourth year in a row.

More opinion online
Read more opinion from the GP editorial team in the editor's blog at www.healthcarerepublic.com/blogs. This is what the team had to say this week.

"The health minister and surgeon pulled the plug on his speech hours before he was due to take to the stage. Darzi's replacement video address was notable only for his erroneous referral to the RCGP's chairman Professor Steve Field as its president.

"The truth is that if we value our toes; hips; backs; and fertility we've all got to stop being so vain and - temporarily at least - swap our leg-lengthening killer heels for comfortable clogs. Apparently, our feet will thank us for wearing them."

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