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GPC ‘powerless to overturn controversial DDRB decision’

GPC negotiators are unable to reverse the controversial Government decision to limit GP pay uplift to just 0.28%, despite the ‘dubious’ methodology of the review body report, the GPC chair has told Pulse.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul admitted that allocations recommended by the DDRB were ‘set in stone’, but that the BMA’s policy research unit will find out ‘exactly where it went wrong’ for next year.

Another GPC negotiator called on GPs to write to their local MPs to begin a ‘root and branch’ attack on funding cuts.

The comments followed last week’s report from the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration report (DDRB), which claimed that an 0.28% uplift to the Global Sum will lead to a 1% pay rise for GPs due to falling staff costs, but went on to admit the formula it used has been historically ‘flawed’.

Accountants have described the report’s expense estimates as a ‘mystery’ and stated that staff costs have risen by around 2% to 3% – rather than the 1.4% decrease cited by the report.

Speaking to Pulse, Dr Nagpaul said: ‘With DDRB, one of the important priorities for us is to look at the methodology used – it’s been dubious.’

‘One thing we’re going to do – as GPC – is use our policy research unit to find out exactly where it went wrong. Because the methodology has not come up with the figures that GPs recognise, and we need to look towards a refined process of the evidence beneath the unarguable reality that workload and expenses are rocketing.’

When asked whether the pay award was ‘set in stone’, Dr Nagpaul replied: ‘Yes, so we do need to work now [for next year]… You need to start defining the evidence now, the methodology. I think we need to urgently look at the sort of evidence that will give GPs a fair deal for their future.’

The BMA Council meets tomorrow (Tuesday), but Dr Nagpaul said he was unable to comment on whether the pay award would be discussed.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, a fellow GPC negotiator, said the cuts announced in recent weeks had left GPs ‘utterly dismayed’ and said that without urgent remedying ‘general practice will not be able to deliver core services.’

She said: ‘It’s a death of 1000 cuts in the NHS. It’s now getting to the point where patient services are severely affected and there’s been several announcements in the last week that have left many GPs utterly dismayed.’

‘One of them is the whittling away of things that in the past have been funded, the big one is actually the slap in the face of a DDRB rise.’

She added: ‘Unless individual GPs start telling their MPs exactly how it is, and we start getting together a concerted movement at grassroots level – whether that’s via LMCs or individual practices – contacting their MPs.’

‘I would urge all doctors: Don’t wait for the BMA, don’t wait for the GPC – of course we’ll be pushing very hard and will continue to do so – but what we also need is a root and branch attack on this.’

The Unite union has already said it is going to ballot members on the possibility of a strike over the pay award.