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GP contract talks get off to 'delicate and difficult' start

The GPC and NHS Employers have admitted they are a long way apart in early talks on changes to the GP contract for 2007/8.

Both sides have described negotiations on issues such as the future of the minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG) and inflationary rises to global sums and quality points as

'difficult'.

GPC negotiators have conceded they are on a 'yellow card' from GPs after agreeing a virtual pay freeze this year. They are insisting on inflationary rises as a minimum.

But NHS Employers remains under Government pressure to ensure money follows the patient – and therefore to reduce reliance on MPIG – and to keep pay rises down.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said negotiations were 'difficult and delicate' but

the GPC had 'resisted any

further significant concessions'.

Dr Barbara Hakin, lead negotiator for NHS Employers, admitted that talks were at a sensitive point.

She said: 'It is not surprising that at such a time areas of agreement are more difficult to come by than areas where we disagree.'

Dr Ruban Prasad, chair of South Lancashire LMC, said: 'If MPIG is taken away there would be a riot.'

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