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GPs' disbelief over Carr-Hill comeback

GPC negotiators are standing by the beleagured Carr-Hill formula and insisting it will bring a rise in income for 99 per cent of practices by 2006.

A week after making a grovelling apology for causing 'panic' among GPs, negotiators were adamant they had checked the sums again and dismissed fears of massive practice losses.

The apparent U-turn ­ provoking disbelief among GPs ­ came after negotiators pored over modelling data that showed just eight of some 1,000 practices in

Scotland would be losers by the second year of the contract.

GPC joint-deputy chair Dr Simon Fradd said there was no reason to believe the picture would be any worse in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. He added: 'We're confident the problem is very much smaller than people perceived.'

GPC chair Dr John Chisholm said the debacle had been caused by a 'presentational disaster' which meant GPs had failed to realise they would be entitled to several streams of income alongside the global sum.

Dr Fradd said total global sum funding for 2004/5 was only £2.6 billion, but there were several other funding streams totalling a further £2.2 billion. These include:

·£600 million in quality pay

·£200 million for enhanced services

·£540 million for premises

·£332 million for 'primary care organisation administered funds' to cover items such as maternity and seniority pay

·£297 million for the transitional protection scheme.

Dr Chisholm dismissed a 'false perception' that there was some intention of 'deliberately taking money away from GPs'. He insisted: 'Everyone, including the Government, wants to see all GPs gain.'

Despite the negotiators' confidence in the Carr-Hill formula, they are still pursuing a permanent income guarantee giving GPs the option of sticking with their 2003/4 earnings plus inflation for as long as they want to.

Dr Fradd said he was convinced that a combination of more sensitive data and 'rocketing' quality payments in the second year of the contract would prompt a surge of

practices to switch to Carr-Hill.

Don't let GPC talk for PMS

The contract debacle has convinced Dr Sarah Tommins she does not want the GPC to win its battle for negotiating rights for PMS GPs.

'I've lost confidence. I would prefer the BMA to appoint professional negotiators,' said Dr Tommins, a PMS GP in Hull.

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