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Independents' Day

GPC smokescreen over contract delay

A dilemma over whether to spend extra Government cash on GPs' income or on pensions is the real reason for the delay to the GMS contract.

GPC chair Dr John Chisholm has maintained that lack of key data and the need for a legislation timetable are the reasons for the six-week delay.

But while both have contributed, Pulse has learned they have also acted as a smokescreen for negotiators to buy more time to agree on the crucial issues of pensions and allocations.

Dr David Jenner, a member of the NHS Confederation reference group for the contract talks, said negotiations now centred on the extra money. 'If they spend too much on pensions they won't have enough for the rest of the contract,' he said.

Ministerial sources warned last week there were 'serious technical difficulties' to be resolved before a deal on pensions could be struck.

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