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Government demands GP pay freeze

By Ian Quinn

The Government has called for GPs' pay to be frozen for a third year in a row.

The Department of Health's submission to the Doctors' and Dentists' Review body says the pay of GPs should be ‘maintained at current levels' meaning ‘no cash or real terms increases that are not directly linked to improvements in the level and quality of services.'

The move, which it says will help pay for initiatives such as the expansion of GP hours, was condemned today by GPC chair, Dr Laurence Buckman. He called it 'an insult to all the hard work GPs have done.'

Dr Buckman said: ‘GPs have already had two years of a zero per cent award. This is a real cut in pay as all their expenses have risen with inflation including paying their staff. If GPs were faced with no uplift to their pay for the third year running there is a very real risk of a return to the disastrous pre-contract morale problems.'

In its submission to the DDRB, the department recommends a 2% increase for nurses, midwives and therapists, and 1.5% for dentists and hospital doctors.

It says it is important to avoid big pay increases for staff in order to achieve key service developments, such as extending opening hours for at least half of GP practices in the next three years.

DH

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