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Northern Irish GPs set to retain MPIG in contract negotiations

GPs will retain MPIG and have hundreds of points from QOF reinvested into their global sum under a contract deal being discussed with ministers in Northern Ireland.

From April, practices in Northern Ireland will have 263 QOF points removed and reinvested into the global sum and a subgroup on ‘equitable funding’ will be formed to discuss the future of practice funding, including the MPIG.

The subgroup will also debate seniority payments, which are being scrapped in England, and locum superannuation, for which English GPs are being reimbursed.

The MPIG has been retained for the time being in Scotland and in Wales it will be phased out over seven years from April 2015.

The Northern Ireland deal is subject to formal agreement from ministers, but will be another step away from a unified UK contract, cutting a smaller number of QOF points than in the English deal.

A spokesperson for the Northern Irish GPC said: ‘While formal agreement for the proposals put forward by the NI GP’s can’t be confirmed the committee chairman Dr Tom Black said he believed they had come away with a fair deal which recognises that GPs in NI are working very hard to provide the best access and meet the highest global standards of quality of care in general practice.’

A spokesperson for Northern Irish Department of Health said: ‘Negotiations are continuing with the Northern Irish GPC regarding a wide range of issues within the GMS contract including the make-up of the quality and outcomes framework. The department will continue discussing the proposed changes to the contract with the Northern Irish GPC in an effort to reach an acceptable agreement in the coming weeks.’