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Welsh GPC returns to talks after being thrown MPIG lifeline

Exclusive The Welsh GPC has returned to contract negotiations with the Welsh Government after officials promised to rethink their plans to remove the MPIG.

It comes after Welsh GPC chair Dr David Bailey said that plans to abolish the MPIG over seven years, as in England, would lead to some rural Welsh practices having to close.

Dr Bailey, who has had two meetings with Welsh Government officials over the past week, said that the Welsh GPC is now awaiting the Government’s redrafted version of the proposals for contract changes, with a view to returning to the negotiating table.

He said: ‘We are waiting for their response on taking MPIG out of the imposition [and are] expecting a revised letter soon.’

He said a return to negotiations may lead to the Welsh Government dropping its MPIG withdrawal plans, and the possibility of Welsh GPs having their contract terms for 2013/14 imposed on them.

Dr Bailey said: ‘All those are possibilities.’

It comes after the GPC informed Welsh GPs in a letter last week that it had rejected a watered-down version of the English contract deal, with MPIG as a key factor behind the decision, and that proposals were now pending formal consultation and a 1 April imposition.

It said its decision came despite the Welsh Government for a number of concessions compared to England, including less far-reaching QOF changes.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: ‘The Welsh Government is currently discussing with GPC Wales the proposals for changes to the GP contract for 2013/14, in particular, the concerns about the proposals for MPIG withdrawal.’

The Scottish GPC already reached a negotiated contract deal with its devolved health department which protects Scottish GPs from the Department of Health’s imminent MPIG removal plans, while in England they are pending imposition. Northern Irish GPs are still awaiting the full details of the proposed changes to their contract.