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Hanged GP was being hounded by PCT despite concerns on his health

Half of the GPs who responded to our survey on the contract expect big pay rises, but many complain about extra work ­ Jack Shamash reports

GPs are split over whether they expect the new contract to deliver a series of bumper pay rises.

Half of the 1,110 GPs surveyed by Pulse estimated their income would jump by at least 10 per cent in each of the next three years. But 48 per cent said they did not anticipate a substantial pay rise.

GPC negotiators estimated last year that on average GPs would see a 25-30 per cent rise over the first three years of the contract, mainly through quality pay.

Optimism about whether this would be achieved varied, with GPs in larger practices most optimistic about their prospects.

Two-thirds of GPs in practices with 8 or more GPs expected 10 per cent plus increases in the next three years. Rural and PMS practices were also marginally more likely to expect a big increase.

Dr Linda Belderson, a GP in a six-partner PMS practice in Leeds, said the contract was a big improvement. 'We now get paid for the work we do,' she said.

However, Dr Belderson was in a minority among women GPs, as 57 per cent said they did not expect a substantial

increase.

Singlehanders were also less optimistic, with only 41 per cent predicting a big rise.

Dr Martin Turner, a GP in a two-partner practice in Hounslow, Middlesex, forecast a 10 per cent plus increase, but said the practice would have to work hard for it. 'We're taking on enhanced services, being paid per service carried out,' he said.

'We're getting more money, but all this information gathering is turning me into an obsessive neurotic. I spend so much time poring over computer printouts that I feel I've become a data entry clerk rather than a doctor.'

The survey showed 60 per cent of GPs were undertaking local enhanced services.

Overall, rural and larger practices were more likely to be doing local enhanced services than urban GPs and those in smaller surgeries.

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