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Far-flung GPs unite behind manifesto

The two years since the GPC unveiled the new GMS contract have been dogged by row after row over GPs' right to boycott unpaid work

· February 2003

The GPC promises the new contract will give GPs control over their workload with all non-core work funded through the enhanced services route. Negotiators promise GPs they will have unprecedented power to say No to unpaid work.

· July 2003

Spending pledges submitted to health minister John Hutton show GPs facing a postcode lottery over enhanced services pay, with some SHAs missing Government spending floors by up to

£1.5 million and other predicting big overspends.

· November 2003

LMCs begin issuing ultimatums threatening that GPs will pull out of some work unless PCOs sort out enhanced services pay deals. Meanwhile, the Department of Health orders PCTs to get their directed enhanced services in place as a matter of urgency.

· February 2004

GPC advises GPs how to explain to patients why they are pulling out of unfunded services.

· April 2004

Talks on enhanced services descend into chaos in the contract's first week as many services remain unfunded.

· May 2004

GPs condemn PCOs for using 'bullying techniques' to force them to do enhanced services for little or no pay.

· June 2004

Heated debate at annual LMCs conference results in vote demanding that the GPC draw up a definitive list of essential services to support GPs battle to 'end exploitation'.

GP negotiators resist the demand, claiming it would make the contract 'look like the Noddy guides' ­ but agree to convene a subgroup to scrutinise PCO spending plans.

· July 2004

Department of Health deadline for agreement on enhanced service basket deals passes with rows still raging between GPs and PCOs.

GPs in Solihull accuse their PCT of threatening them with court action if they pull out of unpaid work. PCT says the discussion was 'hypothetical'.

· September 2004

GPs threaten to boycott the Government's Choose and Book drive unless they are paid for the extra work.

· January 2005

GPs push for tough new rules to force PCOs that underspend on enhanced services this year to use the money for next year.

· February 2005

GPC urges GPs to boycott all unpaid vaccination work as postcode lottery emerges in public health pay.

· March 2005

GPC attempts to dampen continuing GP agitation by publishing a list of things that can count towards enhanced service spending floors, things that can't ­ and grey areas for local agreement.

Rows over unpaid work escalate again as PCOs try to push through unsuitable schemes for the second year running.

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