Welsh GPs accept revised contract offer
29 January 2013
Welsh GPs have accepted a revised contract offer that helps to protect practice income.
The move comes after months of negotiations with Welsh government officials and rejection of the first proposals by GP leaders.
The original offer from the Welsh government would have resulted in the MPIG (minimum practice income guarantee) being phased out over the next seven years. But the BMA claimed that would have caused surgeries in rural parts of Wales to close.
The BMA Welsh GPs committee met on Thursday and accepted the deal.
WGPC chair David Bailey said: ‘We have agreed to accept the contract offer, and we are in agreement with the Welsh government in the same way as [GPs and ministers are in Scotland].’
He added: ‘We took the view that when you got rid of the commitment to get rid of the MPIG, we were in a better place.
‘There has been a pragmatic acceptance that we were never going to get a great deal.’
The accepted contract also has lower QOF (quality and outcome framework) thresholds than the original UK deal — another original cause of concern for Welsh GPs.
When contract negotiations first broke down in October last year, BMA Cymru Wales claimed that changes to the QOF would mean more appointments for patients with chronic conditions. It said this would reduce access for other patients, as Wales had a higher concentration of patients with chronic conditions.
Revised performance targets
Under the revised agreement accepted on Thursday, surgeries will have to match the performance of the top 50 per cent of practices rather than the top 25 per cent. GPs will also keep 59 of the 154.4 QOF points for organisational targets. The QOF review indicator will remain at 15 months, rather than dropping to 12 as had been suggested.
Proposed higher thresholds for hypertension indicators will not be introduced, and money relating to the emergency department indicators in QOF will instead be put into practices' weighted global sum equivalent, as will payments for locum superannuation.
The agreement is similar to that reached between the BMA Scottish GPs committee and the Scottish government.
The Department of Health is consulting on the changes it wants to make to the GP contract in England. The BMA GPs committee is surveying GPs to help draw up its response to the consultation. The government has threatened to impose the changes from April.