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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Chaos as pay rows plague final week

General practice is in turmoil a week before the new GMS contract starts.

Practices across the UK are embroiled in a host of disputes with primary care organisations over issues such as enhanced services, global sums, premises and out of hours.

GPs are reporting being 'steamrollered' into signing the contract by PCOs despite ongoing rows over which services their practice will provide and how much they will be paid.

Some practices in Yorkshire still have not been given accurate global sum information. Others in Northern Ireland and Wales have been held up by delays in agreeing the final contract and given just days to make any alterations to their deal.

GPs described the process as a 'shambles', 'chaotic' and 'unacceptable'.

Last-gasp meetings are planned for the coming week in a final effort to thrash out disputes and get contracts signed by March 31.

But GPs predicted they would only be able to sign a skeleton contract and disputes would carry on for months, forcing them to cut their pay until they were certain of practice income levels.

Dr Ian Keith, a GP in Norwich, said GPs were concerned about signing contracts that had so many queries attached.

He added: 'We have to sign by the end of the month but there will be a lot of red ink.'

GPs in Devon have agreed with PCOs to attach a separate document of their caveats because of similar worries.

Dr Chris Taggart, a GP in Coventry and LMC member, said local PCTs had been acting 'like kitchen salesmen'.

He said: 'They expect us to sign documents in days but we've been waiting for months for our global sums. There's a sense of distrust.'

GPC members attacked PCOs for putting out 'bad ideas and rumours'.

Dr John Givans, medical secretary of North Yorkshire LMC, said: 'I've got one PCT that says it hasn't received its financial allocation. The whole thing is barmy.'

David Nobletts, lay secretary of Lancashire LMCs, said trusts were arguing they did not have to commission minor injuries enhanced services because the work was covered by essential services.

PMS GPs have also complained at the lack of information about how the contract will affect them.

Contract disputes

Lancashire: PCOs claim minor injuries not an enhanced service. Problems over premises, global sums and MPIG

Lothian: GPs dispute global sums, MPIG figures and seniority

Manchester: Errors in GPs' budgets. GMS and PMS

GPs condemn poor communication

South Wales: Standard contracts only just agreed. No time to agree individual deals

Northern Ireland: Delays mean some practices will not sign contract by March 31

Harrow: PCT only has enough cash to pay 750 quality points

By Pulse reporters

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