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Talks on contract changes running into a brick wall

Talks on changes to GPs' contracts for next year are close to collapse, with NHS Employers refusing to agree an inflationary pay rise for next year.

GPC negotiators are preparing to ask the Doctors and Dentists Review Body to rule on GP principals' pay for the first time in four years because of the gridlock.

Negotiations are to continue in the hope a last-minute deal can be thrashed out. But both sides plan to submit evidence to the pay Review Body at the end of the month. If it ends up making the final decision, it will undermine the negotiating structure for GPs' pay set up under the new contract.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said NHS Employers was demanding efficiency savings that would erode any pay rise. He said: 'We are not prepared to see our hard-fought gain eroded year-by-year.

'We're submitting evidence but will still seek a negotiated agreement.'

Negotiators are also hoping to see off threats to cap GP pensions.

Philip Grant, a negotiator for NHS Employers, said it was continuing talks but was aware of the GPC's intentions.

He said: 'If the Review Body were to agree to consider this, then we will no doubt make our own submission.'

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