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Storm at lack of global sum uplift

LMC representatives voiced 'bitter disappointment' at the lack of an uplift to global sums and the failure of the new contract to live up to a promise of 'no new work without pay'.

They unanimously 'deplor-ed' the failure to revise the global sum in April 2006 or to incorporate increased funding de- spite the need to uplift practice staff pay.

A new global sum formula must be introduced in April 2007 or further erosion to GP pay would result, they demanded.

Dr Colin Patterson of North Cumbria LMC said there was a widening gap between real expenditure and the funding formula. 'Payments must maintain their value year on year,' he said. 'General practice needs to know it has a secure future.'

Dr Mike Downes of Birmingham LMC highlighted the workload created by screening for chronic kidney disease and higher quality framework thresholds – with no extra resources. 'Our negotiators have negotiated new work without additional resources,' he said. 'We were misled.'

Dr Paul Ryan, from the Scottish Conference of LMCs, said GP income was also at risk because minimum practice income guarantees had not been uprated and were based on historical inequities.

'MPIG was a last-minute fix and should never have been there, but it must be inflation proof,' he said. 'There's been no uplift for three years.'

Dr Paul Alford of Merton LMC said he was 'profoundly disturbed' at the events that had occurred. 'They damage the viability of my practice and my ability to change and improve services,' he said.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said he did not accept the profession had been fundamentally misled and he would defend the decision not to attempt to revise the global sum in April.

'It's a one-off and won't happen again. We felt we should take our time rather than rush a review of the formula. We'd love to be rid of MPIG but I don't see any prospect of getting enough money into the global sum.'

But the conference voted against a motion calling for an end to performance-related pay elements such as the quality framework and its replacement with a simplified global sum that better reflects list size, additional and enhanced services.

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