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Negotiators admit pay deal is 'too low'

GP negotiators have admitted they allowed enhanced services to creep into the contract with 'very, very low' pay rates.

They also revealed they were forced to hold out against Government pressure to bow to an unacceptable pay deal for treating patients with learning difficulties.

Dr Simon Fradd, GPC joint-deputy chair, said the Government benchmark price for minor surgery of £150 to £350 per session was 'very, very low'. But he defended its inclusion, arguing it was 'a damned sight better' than some practices were currently paid for providing the service.

The GPC had fought hard to keep the price above BMA-recommended minimum hour- ly rates, he added.

Government intransigence over pay rates also scuppered a funding deal for enhanced care of patients with learning difficulties, he said.

'We haven't agreed a national enhanced service for learning disabilities, even though it's Government policy, because they wouldn't go anywhere near what we believe was a reasonable price,' Dr Fradd said.

The news came amid dissatisfaction from many GPs over enhanced service pay rates.

Dr Digby Thomas, who runs a PMS-funded practice in Edinburgh offering specialist care to homeless patients, branded 'vastly inadequate' the £1,000 plus £100 per patient on offer. 'It isn't going to be enough,' he said.

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