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#GPnews: Scottish GPs will vote on new contract ‘within a year’

16:10 The deadline for GPs to make their end-of-year pensions submissions had to be extended after the mailbox operated by support services provider Capita was swamped and unable to accept new messages.

The GPC’s lead on Primary Care Support England matters Dr Ian Hume has written to practices to say NHS England has agreed a grace period for superannuation returns submitted after the 28 February deadline.

But he added doctors who have had trouble submitting should now do so as soon as soon as possible to ’avoid losing out’.

Dr Hume said that PCSE has now ‘expanded’ its submissions inbox and has assigned staff to ‘monitor’ its capacity so the issue doesn’t arise again.

He writes: ‘We have highlighted about the mailbox being full and therefore not accepting pension submissions. The inbox has now been expanded with people monitoring this to ensure that this issue does not arise again.

The number of GPs unable to submit, or who submitted after the deadline, was ‘unclear’ but Dr Hume adds ‘NHS England have agreed to a grace period so doctors should send in their forms as soon as possible in which case they will not lose out.’

It was also unclear how long a grace period there was.

14:00 Scottish GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt has further clarified to Pulse the vote process for the new GMS contract in Scotland which will happen at the point at which funding has been clarified.

‘We intend that to be within a year,’ he said.

Dr McDevitt said some decisions would happen over the next year without a vote, such as removal of child immunisations from core GMS work, but that once the funding is started the contract will be put to GP partners.

Among other issues that are likely to be addressed before the voting stage is premises, Dr McDevitt explained.

‘We will continue to take opportunities to make general practice more sustainable and robust,’ he said.

On the need for speed and getting the new contract sorted Dr McDevitt said he had been frustrated with the progress made so far.

‘Now is the time to bite the bullet’, he said.

13:50 The CQC has confirmed that its fees will rise by 76% in April 2017, meaning the average practice will be paying £4,526 a year.

However, GPs will have the full costs of the CQC fees reimbursed in full by NHS England or the local CCG due to an agreement in the 2017/18 GP contract.

This follows a consultation that ran until January.

The CQC is moving to a model whereby it recovers all its costs from fees rather than from grants from the Department of Health.

 The full cost of CQC fees:

Single location providers

Current fee

2017/18 fee

list size up to 5,000 patients



list size between 5,001 and 10,000 patients



list size between 10,001 and 15,000 patients



list size over 15,000 patients




Multiple location providers


2 locations



3 locations



4 locations



5 locations



between 6 and 10 locations



between 11 and 40 locations



More than 40 locations



11:50 Time is running out to negotiate a new GMS contract for Scotland, delegates at the annual LMCs Conference in Glasgow have heard.

In his opening speech, GPC chair Dr Alan McDevitt said ‘we cannot simply extend the stability agreement year after year’.

He said ‘agreement is in sight’ but called on the government to not get distracted from the task at hand and provide some clear statements of change.

‘I want us to have well resourced, GP led primary care teams that are capable of meeting the increasing health challenges of this country.’

The GPC had negotiated a stability deal for 2017/18 to enable a new GMS contract to be negotiated.

During motions on contracts and negotiations, Dr McDevitt said an in-depth analysis of GP expenses and income is currently being carried out by the BMA which will be a ‘fundamental part’ of informing the new contract.

‘We have an agreement that GMS income will not be reduced as a totality’ but with any change, he added, there is always ‘winners and losers’.

Dr McDevitt then reassured delegates by confirming that they will present the transition arrangements between how GPs are paid now and how they will be paid in the future.

‘Then you will vote,’ he said. ‘You will have that choice and I like to think that will be towards the end of this year.

‘There is a lot to be done in the short term but we will present that [funding transition arrangements] to you and you will get a vote.’

His comments followed concerns by other BMA members about whether they would get a vote on the deal, having been told this would only happen if there was substantial changes to how GPs were paid.

10:50 Prime Minister Theresa May has ‘slammed the breaks’ on the hike to national insurance for the self-employed, including GP partners, the media is widely reporting today.

Ms May has said a vote on new legislation required will not be put to MPs until the autumn, as Sky News and others report.

The Spring Budget, announced on Wednesday said there would be a 1% increase to NIC in April next year and one the following April, bringing it to 11% total for the self employed.

But it was criticised both by Tory backbenchers and the opposition, who said it breached an election promise that NIC would not rise.

GP accountant James Gransby, AISMA executive board member and head of healthcare at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, said: ‘The brakes have been applied to the NIC increases due to pressure from rebel Tory MPs.

‘This should be seen as welcome news to GP partners, who are forced to adopt self employed status, although the spectre of NIC rises in future still looms.’

09:30 The school run is dangerous to small children and parents should use pram covers to protect them from air pollution, a report from the University of Surrey suggests.

Air pollution was worst in morning and small children most at risk, with traffic lights the worst hotspots for damaging particles, found the researchers.

It comes as the World Health Organisation recently warned 570,000 children under five died from illnesses every year that could be linked to pollution, reports the BBC.

Dr Prashant Kumar, lead study author from the University of Surrey, said: ‘Young children are far more susceptible to pollution than adults, due to their immature and developing systems and lower body weight.

‘Essentially, children could be at risk of breathing in some nasty and harmful chemical species such as iron, aluminium and silica that form together the particles of various size ranges.’