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MPs blame GPs' pay for NHS debts

The pay rises for GPs and other healthcare workers are largely responsible for NHS deficits, an influential group of MPs has concluded.

The Commons public accounts committee said the cost of the GMS contract exceeded Government forecasts by £250m.

The consultants' contract and Agenda for Change went £310m over budget, said the committee in its report Financial Management in the NHS.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson told the committee: 'We took the best advice and our conclusion was the average score for a GP would be about 750 points.

In fact, it was more than 1,000 points.'Trusts made 903 compulsory redundancies in the six months to 30 September 2006, hospital wards have closed, and significant capital projects have been deferred, the committee said.

It concluded: 'There is a lack of financial expertise in the NHS and a need to strengthen communication with those responsible for delivery of services.'

The BMA denied GPs were to blame for debts. Mr Jonathan Fielden, chair of the consultants committee, said: 'The NHS is in a financial mess because of the millions spent on ill thought-out and incoherent reforms.'

Overpriced PFI deals, IT overspends and rising drug costs had contributed to the debt, he added.

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