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'Raise community hospital pay rates'

Thousands of GPs could abandon community hospital work unless pay rates drastically improve, the BMA has warned the Government.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said a 'quantum leap' in pay was needed for 4,000 GPs, who are doing the work of consultants and house officers in community hospitals but for a clinical assistant's rate.

The warning came after the BMA submitted evidence to the pay Review Body on doctors not covered by the new GP and consultant contracts.

In its evidence, the BMA called for a workload survey and reform of the 'chaotic and unfair' pay system. 'With the new contract, people are not going to run a separate out-of-hours rota just to provide cover for community hospitals,' said Dr Holden.

'Many practices will say we can probably earn more from the quality framework than from community hospitals.'

Some PCT managers had realised this and were accusing GPs of 'wrecking' community hospitals,' Dr Holden added. 'That is exploitation and blackmail.'

GPs in Bolsover and Clay Cross in Derbyshire have already resigned en masse from community hospital work.

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