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23-10-2012 | General practice | Article

DH issues pay ultimatum


Department of Health

medwireNews: The Department of Health's offer of a 1.5% pay uplift for GP practices has been dismissed by the BMA, who say the government's proposals for next year's GP contract in England are unrealistic.

The funding increase accompanies several other proposed changes to the QOF, core practice funding and the management of long-term conditions, outlined in a letter to PCT and SHA chief executives on Tuesday.

The Department of Health has stated that if a negotiated settlement cannot be agreed during a forthcoming formal consultation period, they will impose changes to the contract without the BMA's agreement.

GPC chair Laurence Buckman said that the announcement disregards their negotiations over the past 5 months and will stun GPs. "The government must urgently rethink its approach and return to our negotiated settlement that was so close to being concluded," he urged.

Alongside the proposed investment increase, the government wants to bring QOF indicators in line with NICE recommendations, as well as raise QOF thresholds. Furthermore, under these changes, practices would no longer be incentivised for organisational tasks.

Money released by the changes would be reallocated to so-called 'enhanced services' for patients with dementia, serious and long-term conditions, and online access to services.

The Minimum Practice Income Guarantee would also be phased out in favour of a common capitation price to be introduced from April 2014.

The government says it believes the changes will improve patient care, particularly those with long-term conditions. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a press statement: "Our proposals will help ensure that we provide the very best care and support possible for those at most risk of life threatening conditions."

Hunt added: "We want the BMA to work with us on making this happen but will not back away from making changes that will deliver better care for patients."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Kirsty Oswald, medwireNews Reporter