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GPC negotiators put blame on No. 10 for the latest setback

GPC negotiators have blamed a last-gasp intervention by Number 10 for forcing them to miss their February 21 deadline for releasing the new contract.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said that negotiations with the NHS Confederation concluded on Wednesday morning after a final marathon 24-hour session.

But the Prime Minister's policy adviser on health Simon Stephens demanded to check the 200-page document word for word before it was released.

'They have been bouncing back alterations. Sometimes it is just individual words. If you have 200 pages you have to crawl over every word,' he said.

'This government always has mega control over everything. We suddenly found we had a hold-up in the process. These kind of hitches are extremely annoying.'

The delay meant the GPC was forced to release a series

of Powerpoint slides with the key details, but no data on how GPs' income would be

affected. The BMA said the full contract would be released on Tuesday, February 25.

Wednesday 5pm LMC sources told pensions still the crucial sticking point.

11pm Sources close to the negotiations told contract wouldn't be available as planned.

Thursday 9am GPC members arrive to pick up the contract; intead they get sheet of paper saying meeting would go ahead but contract was delayed.

10am Ministerial source says: 'Negotiations are ongoing. It is pensions among other things. It is clear that both sides have bottom lines and they are not shifting. It looks like it's going to the wire.'

11am DoH says: 'We understand an agreement was reached last night and the detail is being finalised.'

11.30am GPC chair Dr John Chisholm emerges with other GP negotiators to face the GPC, conceding: 'It's still not sorted.'

11.40am GPC meeting starts without the contract.

12.30pm Sources close to the negotiations are told 'there should be something available for the LMC conference tomorrow'.

Lunchtime GPC meeting aborted with no sign of the contract. Members told to come back for LMCs conference on Friday.

7.30pm GPC admits 'significant chunks' have still not been sent for approval from department and they are preparing to work through the night.

10.30pm Negotiators speak to Pulse about key contract details and attack Government control freakery for the delay.

Friday 8:15am BMA admits it will not meet its deadline but says the deal is signed off by ministers. Contract expected to be released tomorrow.

11:10am Dr Chisholm addresses special LMC conference minus contract.

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