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GPs seek pay-out over flu chaos

GPs are threatening legal action against a primary care organisation over plans to force them to carry on doing out-of-hours next year.

The furious row broke out after NHS Highland pledged to use the 'exceptional circumstances' clause in the new contract to deny up to 30 practices the ability to opt out from January 1.

The PCO told the GPs in June they would be able to give up on-call work on December 1, but has broken its written guarantee after failing to recruit enough salaried doctors on £70,000 to £90,000 a year to fill shifts.

GPs in the rural area of north-west Scotland said they were 'absolutely devastated'.

Dr Alison Brooks, a GP in Thurso and one of 13 doctors threatening legal action, said patient safety was at risk.

She said: 'I can't continue to do the job if it's day and night. The new contract has at least doubled our daytime work and we can't continue to offer a safe service because we are absolutely exhausted.'

Dr Ewen Pearson, a GP in Wick, said NHS Highland's actions were 'tantamount to bullying or blackmail'.

He added: 'I assumed I was not going to do out-of-hours and made lots of life plans.'

Scottish GPC joint-chair Dr David Love said applying to use the exceptional circumstances clause would be 'a complete failure of implementation and a breach of the

contract'.

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