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Poaching of nurses spreads

GPC negotiators have admitted they do not know whether the 'square root' formula used to weight quality pay will result in a cut in total payments.

Their comments follow claims by Dr Gavin Jamie, a GP in Swindon, that the formula used to 'compress' quality payments would lead to a shortfall of more than £8 million in the amount paid out.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said they would not know whether the claims were true until figures were available at the end of the year.

He said: 'Until then it's difficult to say anything more than it's an interesting theory based on a small sample.'

Dr Meldrum reiterated that if there was a shortfall between what is paid out to GPs and the £602 million available for quality in 2004/5 an adjustment would be made.

Dr Meldrum added: 'There is no intention to reduce the overall amount of money. If, at the end of the year, we look at what's been paid out [and there's a shortfall] an adjustment will be made. There's no three-card trick.'

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