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GPs outraged over Government contract tactics

By Steve Nowottny

GPs in Scotland have expressed outrage and dismay at the Government's handling of the extended hours dispute and this year's pay award.

The Scottish LMCs conference passed a series of fiercely-worded motions condemning the ‘manner and tactics used by central Government to bring about changes in the GP contract' as delegates queued up to attack ministers' treatment of GPs.

Dr Lucy Munro, a GP from Grangemouth in Forth Valley, said morale had been rocked by the recent disputes.

‘Not knowing what you're going to be asked to do or what you're going to be paid from one year to the next will affect recruitment and retention,' she warned. ‘Who'd be a GP in the current climate?'

The Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body came in for particularly fierce criticism over its recommendation this year that practice correction factors be cut as the first stage of phasing out the MPIG. LMCs unanimously backed a motion claiming this year's report was ‘at best based on flawed interpretation of submitted evidence and at worst unfairly biased to the Government position.'

Dr Hal Maxwell, a GP in Ballantrae in Ayrshire and Arran, said: ‘They are simply an arm of Gordon Borwn and his cronies out to destroy us and destroy general practice.'

And delegates warned GPs in Scotland would be particularly hard hit by the DDRB's recommendation, with an estimated 95% of practices reliant on MPIG.

Dr Barbara West, secretary of Glasgow LMC, said claims that MPIG was a luxury ignored the fact that it was essential to many practices' survival.

‘Champagne? Caviar? What a load of tosh,' she said. ‘People have an MPIG because they've invested in staff.'

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