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‘Sticking points’ delay GP contract negotiations

By Gareth Iacobucci

Exclusive: GPC leaders have admitted that their first round of contract talks with the new coalition Government has been struck by delays as negotiators struggle to agree how to incorporate Andrew Lansley's radical reform agenda into this year's deal.

A formal announcement on the 2011/12 contract award was expected some weeks ago, with GPs anxious to learn how the knock-on effects of the NHS reforms would affect their contractual status this year.

GP negotiators this week revealed talks had become bogged down over key ‘sticking points', but remained tight-lipped on the areas of disagreement.

Senior GP figures have speculated that the knock-on effects of GP commissioning could prove a major stumbling block, despite negotiators' insistence that formal contractual responsibility for commissioning is not on the table this year.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul confirmed there would be some previously agreed changes to the QOF this year, with GPs likely to see new incentives to improve the management of patients with dementia, diabetes and schizophrenia, as recommended for inclusion by NICE's independent QOF indicator advisory committee.

His fellow GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron Nash said: ‘It's unfortunate negotiations have taken longer than expected. There have been a few sticking points. We hope to inform practices as soon as possible.'

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