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Up to one in five GP trainers are set to quit their posts this year because of the Government's refusal to increase pay rates, a BMA survey has found.

The exodus has been triggered by Department of Health evidence to the pay Review Body, which called for only a 2.5 per cent pay rise and the scrapping of the £750 educational supplement.

The supplement, well below the extra £11,000 the BMA believes GP trainers need, has not been paid this year and there is confusion over whether it will be.

The BMA last week accused the department of 'deceit' and 'weasel words' for not paying the supplement and calling for it to be ditched.

But the department this week told Pulse it planned to pay the supplement, though it would not say when or how.

Dr Olly O'Toole, a GP in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, said he was going to quit after 18 years as a trainer. He said stiffer regulation and the fact that 'remuneration has not kept pace with income inflation' were major factors. 'I'm at the end of my tether,' he said.

Dr Neil Statham, a GP trainer in Newport, Gwent, said: 'It doesn't surprise me trainers want to resign. I'm at a junction but I have decided to carry on for the moment.'

Dr Graham Davenport, a GP trainer and course organiser in Wrenbury, Cheshire, accused the Government of 'abusing trainers' goodwill'.

He said: 'We're so short ­ even a small percentage leaving would have a big impact.'

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said it would be 'good news' if the department had backtracked on the supplement.

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