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The GPC has accused the Department of Health of ‘weasel words' and ‘deceit' after it called for the £750 grant supplement for GP trainers to be scrapped.

The department has also called for the grant for trainers to rise ‘by no more than 2.5 per cent' this year.

The move contrasts with the BMA's demand that the current £7,024 grant be trebled to stem an increasing exodus of GP trainers who are disillusioned at poor pay rates.

The £750 grant supplement for GP trainers professional development costs was part of the Review Body's 2005 recommendations.

But trainers have not been given the money this year and the department has repeatedly refused to answer BMA questions as to why not.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said that in refusing to pay up the department was breaking the precedent that it accept Review Body recommendations.

‘The whole thing is scandalous,' he said. ‘They seem to be hiding behind weasel words. They made great play in the past about the fact they always accepted the Review Body's recommendations in full.

‘I find it difficult to disguise my anger. They are almost being deceitful. It's not a huge sum of money but it sends out the wrong message to trainers who are hard pressed. I would not be surprised if a lot of trainers said it was the last straw'.

The department justified its stance by arguing the £750 supplement was difficult to link with assessment of GPs' individual development needs.

It also cast doubt on whether GP trainers' development needs were greater than other GPs.

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