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O’Brien expresses sympathy for GPs over financial clawbacks



By Gareth Iacobucci

Health Minister Mike O’Brien has expressed sympathy for GPs having to take on extra work without being paid for it, admitting that many in the profession have been left upset by the clawing back of money.

Speaking during a health select committee debate on commissioning, the minister said he understood why GPs were feeling ‘ticked off’ at being asked to provide extra services without financial reward, but ruled out offering them financial incentives to take up practice-based commissioning.

He said of GPs: ‘They do a good job and we’ve asked a lot more of them. I can understand why they are a bit ticked off that sometimes we seem to be pulling money back as well as asking them to do more.

But he warned that his sympathy was unlikely to be translated into any extra funding for GPs, when it was suggested that the Government could offer financial incentives to sign up for PBC.

He said: ‘Doctors, by and large, are reasonably well paid, particularly if they are partner in a practice. If you’re a partner in a large-scale practice, you’ll be on a very good whack. I’m not sure I’m in the game of paying them a lot more money at the moment.’

Of PBC uptake, he said: ”We know that where practice-based commissioning is working, 80% of GPs say it is going well and 77% say they do feel being listened to.’

Mike O’Brien