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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Renegotiate in five years? So why vote now?

Does the GPC's commitment to renegotiate ­ 'Contract could be rewritten in five years if GPs vote Yes (March 17) ­ make you more likely to vote Yes?

If you needed to buy a new car and the salesman insisted on selling you a tram instead while reassuring you that he might be able to lay some tracks in the next five years between your house and the local shops, would you be tempted?

I don't mind the odd minor tweak, but forget any promises of bolt-on fixes. The global sum forms the core of the contract and has implications for scaling the quality payments and pension contributions.

The contract should never be accepted until a robust and fair calculation of the global sum has been agreed.

I am not prepared to risk my income, staff and patients' welfare by voting for a contract based on a hastily-prepared and deficient cost calculation.

Neither am I prepared to rely on transitional payments while the pay formula is recalculated. At any stage of the negotiation process did any of our GPC negotiators understand how the calculation would affect their own practices?

To accept this contract in its proposed form, at a time when the general public believe we are to be paid a substantial salary increase, is to put the profession in the weakest possible position for future negotiation.

With the current crisis in recruitment and retention, GPs are in a strong position to negotiate a fair deal. If this cannot be achieved now then it never will.

Dr Karl Bennett

Blackwater, Surrey

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