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Pay problems lead GPs to doubt contract promises

GPs are growing increasingly sceptical about getting a meaningful pay rise from the new contract after a number of practices reported far lower first payments than expected.

A straw poll by Berkshire and Buckinghamshire LMCs showed many practices in the two counties had received much less in global sum and MPIG payments than they had predicted.

South Lancashire LMC said there was 'general discontent' among GPs about shortfalls in MPIG payments, with some saying they would have cash-flow problems as a result.

Devon, Glasgow and Lancashire and South Cumbria LMCs also reported that practices had seen income drop by several thousand pounds.

Jane Solomon, director of development and liaison at Berkshire and Buckingham-shire LMCs, said she had been inundated with complaints after asking GPs if they had problems with the April payment.

She said many GPs had been unable to reconcile their first cheque and everyone was having 'huge' difficulties.

'I was so amazed that nearly every single GMS practice was affected by this,' she said. 'It looks like there are going to be serious shortfalls at the end of the year.'

South Lancashire LMC chair Dr Ruban Prasad said practices were reporting their payments were 'not what they should be'.

He added: 'There are practices that are facing serious cash-flow problems. Reality is far, far different from what we were promised.'

Glasgow LMC said an increase of 60 patients in Scotland had led to a drop in the total pot available for each practice's global sum.

Dr Jim O'Neill, a member of the LMC and a GP in the city, said the change meant GPs whose lists had

fallen lost more than expected. His practice was £3,000 down and he would have to fund staff salaries personally.

David Noblett, lay secretary of Lancashire and South Cumbria LMC, said some doctors had had payments 'substantially' below what they expected and one three-partner practice had a shortfall of up to £8,000.

By Nerys Hairon

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