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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Reid steps in to force through flu pay deal

Health Secretary John Reid has waded into the debacle over implementation of the new contract to force through a morale-boosting deal on flu vaccine pay.

GMS and PMS GPs in England will get a new

£7.02 item-of-service fee for immunising at-risk under-65s this winter after Dr Reid agreed to divert up to £30

million to settle the impasse between the GPC and NHS Confederation.

The Health Secretary also made space in his diary for his first meeting with GP negotiators in a bid to shore up trust in the contract.

A GP source with close links to ministers said Dr Reid's intervention was prompted by fears contract implementation had 'gone haywire' in England.

Progress has been smooth-er elsewhere.

Dr Reid pledged the new contract would 'revitalise general practice' and said he was '100 per cent committed' to its implementation.

GPC chair Dr John Chis-holm hailed the victory on flu vaccine pay as 'a clear indication the Government wants the contract to work'. Practices will need registers of at-risk under-65s to claim.

But GPC joint-deputy chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said: 'Let's not cloud the fact ­ there are still other issues we need to see resolved.'

Negotiators still want commitments on IT cash and enhanced services funding and clarity on the divide between PMS and GMS GPs.

Dr Reid also announced plans to help GPs move from dilapidated premises. There will be grants to help GPs in negative equity and guaranteed minimum sale prices for redundant premises.

Dr Chisholm welcomed the 'good news for many GPs anxious to move or upgrade their surgery premises'.

·PCTs will have the facilities they need in place to make lump-sum quality preparation payments by October 20,

with the backdated pay rise

becoming available from October 27.

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