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29-01-2013 | General practice | Article

Welsh contract deal sparks row



medwireNews: GPs in Wales have reached a similar contract deal to their Scottish colleagues that protects the MPIG and includes revisions to minimise the impact of QOF changes.

Revised performance targets include a need to match the top 50% rather than top 25% of practices, the preservation of some organisational targets, and the dropping of proposed higher thresholds for hypertension indicators.

As well as negative impacts on workload and the potential viability of services, the BMA argues that the original QOF plans, still on the table for England and Northern Ireland, could skew care towards some groups of patients at the cost of others.

BMA Wales GPC Chair Dr David Bailey commented on the BMA website: "We took the view that when you got rid of the commitment to get rid of the MPIG, we were in a better place. There has been a pragmatic acceptance that we were never going to get a great deal."

NHS Employers director Dean Royles said the arrival at a second separate deal showed "the GPC has clearly now abandoned a UK approach to negotiating changes to the GP contract".

But BMA GPC Chair Dr Laurence Buckman refuted this claim.

"The BMA took part in five months of negotiations with NHS Employers that in October 2012 were close to agreeing a set of UK proposals that would have benefited patients. The Government then decided to end these talks and instead announced its intention to press ahead with a number of wide ranging changes to the GP contract," Dr Buckman said.

Whereas the Scottish and Welsh Governments have taken a constructive approach, the UK Government is continuing to enforce a "draconian" position, he added.

medwireNews is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Caroline Price, Senior medwireNews Reporter