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GPs to snub policies if pay is capped

Any Government attempt to impose a pay freeze or cap GPs' earnings will lead many doctors to withdraw their co-operation on key policies, GPC negotiators are warning ministers.

Dr Andrew Dearden, GPC Wales chair, said the Government would 'reap the whirlwind' if it ignored pay Review Body recommendations on GP pay, due in late February.

The comments mark a hardening in the GPC's line and come after another week of

stories criticising GPs over their pay, writes Helen Crump.

These culminated in Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt's statement that with hindsight the Government would have sought when agreeing the new contract to cap how much practice income GPs could take in profit.

Dr Dearden said attempts to impose such a policy would be 'the most stupid thing they could do – and therefore the most likely thing they'd do'.

He said: 'GPs would start to express their displeasure in ways that would affect Government policy.'

The GPC has sought costings for a press and poster campaign to counter repeated press stories on 'fat cat' GPs, but believes the 'frightening' expense would not be worth it.

Dr Stewart Drage, GPC negotiator, said GPs had great influence with their patients, who 'by and large stick up for their practices'.

He said: 'The Government should bear that in mind when making these statements.'

• Pay cap 'unworkable', page 2

• Comment, page 84

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