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GPs doubt pay rise and predict cash-flow crises

GPs are highly sceptical about prom-ised pay rises under the contract and some are even expecting a drop in income this year.

Results from a Pulse survey of more than 250 GPs have found over a quarter expect to earn only the same as last year and 7 per cent believe their pay will drop.

A further 12 per cent said they had no idea what they will earn.

GP negotiators have said practices can expect an average 26 per cent income rise in the first three years of the contract and former joint-deputy chair Dr Simon Fradd predicted a near-50 per cent increase.

But GPs said the dearth of enhanced services being commissioned by primary care organisations, and low rates for those that have, has hit their practice income.

Of those GPs who believe their income will rise this year, 44 per cent expect between a

1 and10 per cent increase. Just 8.1 per cent believe pay will rise by more than 10 per cent.

Dr Peter Goodall, a singlehanded GP in Southampton, expects his income to fall by as much as £15,000, even if he hits 900 points on the quality framework.

He said enhanced services were worth 'next to nothing' and his practice would lose existing money for providing improved access.

Dr Goodall added: 'If I've got bills to pay I'm going to have a cash-flow problem. Now I will have to start looking at doing as much non-NHS work as I can.'

Dr David Tull, a GP in Hinckley, Leicestershire, said his global sum equivalent was lower than expected, even with a £100,000 correction factor.

'Our staff income is £20,000-£30,000 down on what we think we should be getting and our accountants said what we'll get for vaccinations and immunisations is half what it should be,' he said.

'I can see January is going to be a nightmare because of the tax bill.'

GPC Wales chair Dr Andrew Dearden said GPs should not assume enhanced services would not be commissioned.

He added: 'Just because people assume they will lose out doesn't mean they will. You can't know when you are only two weeks into the new contract.'

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