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Scottish GPs ‘bitterly disappointed’ over 1.25% funding uplift

GP practices in Scotland will see a 1.25% funding uplift in 2013/14, the smallest rise of the UK nations this year, the Scottish Government has announced today.

The Scottish GPC said it is ‘bitterly disappointed’ with the decision, which comes after the Scottish Government made a series of statements acknowledging the need for more resources in general practice.

The uplift comes after Scotland became the first region to settle upon an agreed contract deal in December last year, which was concessions on the QOF work imposed in England and a lifting of the threat to remove the MPIG from practices.

Despite a Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) recommendation that GP practices should have an upift of 2.29%, practices in Wales and Northern Ireland were given a 1.5% funding uplift for 2013/14 and English GPs received a 1.32% uplift.

The Scottish Government said its 1.25% uplift would give GPs the same 1% pay rise as other Scottish NHS workers were given this month.

Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said: ‘I am very pleased that we have successfully agreed on a pay increase for GPs to recognise the valuable work they do to improve the public’s health.

‘The increase also recognises the more Scottish GP contract, which was reached in agreement with GPs - unique in the UK - that takes account of workloads and meets the needs of Scottish patients and I am confident this pay increase for is a fair deal for Scotland’s GPs.’

But Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said: ‘I am bitterly disappointed with today’s news that the Scottish Government has decided, despite its stated support for general practice, not to accept independent review body recommendations and uplift GP income only by 1.25%.

‘This is the lowest uplift for GPs anywhere in the UK and will further widen the pay gap between GPs in Scotland and those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

‘Just six months ago, the Government was championing a Scottish approach to contract negotiations. The cabinet secretary claimed he supported and valued GPs and made a commitment to invest in general practice, recognising the rising pressures and challenges on primary care. Today, he is sending a different message by not accepting the DDRB recommendation in full. If politicians truly value general practice, they must invest in it.’