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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs are in a strong position ­ so use it to get a decent pay rise

I am appalled by the headline on the front page of the March 10 issue: '12% pay rise for Yes vote...but 2.5% for No'.

It would not be a surprise if the Government used a stick as well as a carrot to coerce GPs into voting in favour of the proposed new contract, but our negotiators should not allow themselves to present it as a foregone conclusion and to forget to use the position of strength that GPs are in.

If the contract is not favourable for GPs ­ and the amount of bureaucracy that practices will have to wade through makes it appear so ­ then we don't have to be defeatist and accept that a mere 2.3 per cent annual pay rise is the only alternative.

As there is a shortage of GPs and we are a sought-after commodity, our negotiators should be able to use this strong position to achieve a pay rise under the present contract that reflects the amount and quality of work we already do.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we still deserve a substantial increase in pay.

Dr Jill Rapoport

Wirksworth, Derbyshire

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