Letter of the week: This contract is not what we voted for
I have just read your editorial on balanced scorecards and find I am in total agreement with you on every point except one.
(Editorial: 'Wholly unbalanced scorecards')
This is very important, as I have seen it written so often it is almost as if history is being changed and falsehood being perpetuated. It would be nice to see it corrected in the medical press.
GPs did not ‘vote for the contract in 2003 by an overwhelming majority'. We were polled at a very early stage of negotiations over a possible contract when the idea of a sort of QOF was proposed along with the suggestion we would give up out-of-hours for the loss of an as yet uncalculated sum, and that a core contract would be set up with additional work bringing in new income. We were asked if the GPC should continue negotiating along these lines. This got an almost 80% yes vote.
We never got the chance to vote on the actual contract as it was set up some time later when we actually had the details. So I would say that this contract was not voted for by GPs at all and in its current form may not have won 50% of the vote if it had been put to the profession.
I don't think this is pedantic. I feel the current contract is different in many ways from what we were hoping for when we voted to continue negotiation, especially regarding the finances – the global sum, MPIG and so on, and the way the change in superannuation payments artificially made it seem we were earning so much more than we were.
From Dr Steve Harris, Ware, Hertfordshire
Editor's note: Dr Harris makes a good point. And what's certainly clear is that whatever GPs thought they were voting for in 2003, the reality has proven very different, and many of the key principles set out in the contract have not held. I imagine the profession will go into the next round of contract negotiations, should they happen post-election, with its eyes wide open.GPs votes were taken before negotiations started, not when the final contract was presented