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Welsh GPs deserve equal funding on extended hours, LMCs told

By Steve Nowottny

Welsh GPs must be paid the same for working evenings and weekends as their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, GP leaders warned this week.

In his ‘state of the nation' address to the Welsh LMC conference on Saturday, Dr David Bailey, chair of GPC Wales, said pricing for the Extended Access DES had yet to be finalised.

‘I have made it clear that any agreement must value the commitment of Welsh practices at the same level as England and Scotland,' he said.

‘In the context of high disease prevalence causing GPs in Wales to work 15% harder for the same money, and independent figures confirming a £10,000 funding gap between English and Welsh practices, I will not characterise any deal as a negotiated agreement without the Welsh Assembly Government funding GP practices equally to England.'

But Dr Bailey also praised the Welsh Assembly's handling of the contract negotiations, contrasting it favourably with the dispute in England.

Extended hours arrangements had been agreed with ‘maximum flexibility for practices and patients, maximum availability across Wales and maximum safety for staff', he said.

‘It is only fair to point out at this point that the Welsh Government has maintained a clear preference for the core values of the NHS which as we know was born here.'

The £5m funding currently allocated to the Access DES in Wales would be reinvested in a ‘basket of DESs', including extended hours but also nationally agreed services for homeless people, asylum seekers, problem drinkers and probably COPD and diabetes patients, he said.

Dr Bailey also paid tribute to his predecessor as GPC Wales chair, Dr Andrew Dearden, who as chair of the BMA Pensions Committee led this month's successful High Court challenge to the cap on GP pensions.

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