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Devolved nations’ GP contract negotiations ‘make progress’

Negotiations between the BMA and governments in the devolved nations are said to be ‘progressing well’, although only GPC Wales has set a planned date for reaching an agreement.

According to the BMA, the Welsh government and GPC Wales are agreed on cutting bureaucracy and ‘inappropriate’ workloads for GPs in a move towards returning to ‘the art of holistic general practice’ and it hopes an agreement can be reached by Christmas.

Changes on the table include moving QOF points back into core funding in the same way as in England, and use of funding from the quality and productivity points in QOF to ‘drive forward community networks’.

The BMA also said the Welsh health minister is committed to reviewing MPIG but ‘this does not mean a simple removal over seven years’.

Meanwhile in Scotland, negotiations are ‘still at an early stage’ and although the Scottish government and GPC Scotland have agreed to pursue minimal changes to the contract for next year, the BMA said there is an ‘understanding’ that if both sides agree the English changes would be beneficial, they may be introduced north of the border.

A spokesperson for BMA Scotland told Pulse: ‘We have to have a talk with the Scottish government, our negotiations are still in the early stages. Obviously there will be some areas of the English agreement that might be attractive to GPs in Scotland but we want to look at aspects that reflect Scottish priorities. There is no deadline for negotiations to conclude.’

The Northern Ireland GPC last met with the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety on 6 November and is similarly looking for a reduction in QOF – while also seeking a solution to EPS/CPI along with equitable funding.

The BMA said: ‘Northern Ireland GPC is also proactively discussing local solutions to GP out-of-hours and the development of practice federations. The chair will be aiming to reduce bureaucracy and maintain practice funding.’