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Contract 'will take years' to lift morale

LMC leaders are deeply sceptical about the state of the new contract and the Government's motives ­ Pulse reports from the special conference

GPC negotiators have admitted it will take years for the new contract to lift the morale of GPs, despite its promise of major new investment and a cut in workload.

Their comments came as LMC leaders voiced deep scepticism about the Government's intentions on the contract and the real reasons for publication being delayed.

Speaking at a conference to brief LMCs on the progress of negotiations, one LMC chair said the delay had 'really reduced the chances of a Yes vote' while others said the Government and negotiators had known all along what information they would need to price the deal.

Dr Tony Stanton won a round of applause after he argued GPs should be 'deeply suspicious' of ministers and disputed whether legislation and lack of data were behind the delay.

Dr Stanton, joint chief

executive of London-wide LMCs, said: 'Isn't it amazing that since it was known from the outset that regulations needed to be changed and that financial information needed to be available, that at the last minute these are put up as

excuses for not meeting the timetable.'

Dr Colin Patterson, chair of North Cumbria LMC, said GPs had no trust in their primary care organisations, the Government or the NHS Confederation. 'That left us with one group of people we could trust ­ the GPC,' he said.

'This six-week delay has really changed people's thought processes. What is going to happen now is people are going to compare the contract to PMS. You must have really

reduced the chances of a Yes vote.'

GPC chair Dr John Chisholm said GPs should not conduct a 'witch-hunt to see where the blame lies' for the delay. He urged the profession to look forward to the contract's publication on February 21 and make their judgment on the final outcome of the negotiations.

But he admitted the contract would only 'start to rebuild' GPs' spirits: 'That's not going to happen overnight. It will take months and years.'

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