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Negotiations ongoing over slashed global sum payments in Wales

Negotiations between GP leaders and the Welsh Government over a cut to the global sum to pay for the state-backed indemnity scheme are ongoing, with a decision expected to be ‘reached shortly’.

The plan to reduce the global sum by £11m – or £2.88 per patient – was met with outrage among GP leaders when it came to light last month.

There were calls for industrial action by some GPs if the proposals were to go ahead, while others warned the cut could lead to practice closures.

In a letter sent to practices earlier this week, the Welsh Government confirmed it was still in discussions over the plans.

It said it wanted ‘to reach an agreement that is fair and proportionate for all parties’ and that ‘all parties remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached shortly which will involve significant new investment and a net increase in funding for all practices’.

The letter, sent on 8 April, confirmed that a meeting between the Government, NHS Wales and the BMA’s Wales GP committee was due to take place on 10 April.

However, because the new indemnity scheme in Wales was introduced on 1 April, practices ‘will still see a reduction in global sum payments for this period’, said the letter.

It said this was ‘due to the length of time the negotiation process is taking – which reflects the challenges to reach a deal which is fair for both the taxpayer and the profession’.

It confirmed that any changes to payments as a result of the negotiations will be backdated for 2019/20.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: ’Together with GPC Wales and NHS Wales, we have written again this week to update GP Practices on negotiations for 2019-20.

’Negotiations are ongoing and we remain committed to reaching an agreement that is fair, proportionate and results in an overall uplift to the GMS contract for this year. There is good faith and a commitment on all sides to reaching a negotiated way forward for the new contract.’

Pulse exclusively revealed at the end of last month that the Government in Wales was planning on slashing global sum payments by £11.286m to help pay for the new NHS-funded GP indemnity scheme.

Previously Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said Wales would follow the new state-backed GP indemnity scheme in England as far as possible so those across the border would not be disadvantaged.

In England, the indemnity scheme is being paid for by the Government at the same time as an increase in global sum payments.