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Ministers reinstate GP pay review process

Exclusive The Department of Health has revealed it will reinstate the annual independent review of GP income from 2013, as the public sector pay freeze ends.

In a move welcomed by the GPC, the DH said it would be again taking recommendations on GPs income from the Doctors and Dentists’ Review body for the 2013/14 pay deal.

The annual review by the Doctors and Dentists’ Review body – where the body takes evidence from both the GPC and NHS Employers on practice expenses and efficiencies – was suspended by health secretary Andrew Lansley in 2010 in light of the public sector pay freeze imposed by the Treasury.

The DH wrote to the DDRB saying that plans for a pay freeze meant ‘it will not be necessary for the DDRB to make any recommendation’, prompting anger from GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman.

But following Chancellor George Osborne’s decision to lift the freeze beyond 2013 – albeit limited to an average increase of 1% for two years – the DH said it will again consider GP pay recommendations.

A DH spokeswoman said: ‘When the DDRB come with the recommendations, we will consider them.’

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul welcomed the news. He said: ‘The current arrangement was always a temporary one, and we had always intended for the DDRB to go back to making pay recommendations on an annual basis.’

‘We recognised that the two-year pay freeze was temporary and we look forward to resuming.’