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GP contract criticised

16th January 2008

A financial watchdog has said that patients are not receiving a "value for money" service from GPs in Wales.

The Welsh Assembly’s audit committee looked at GP services following the introduction of the new GP contract in 2004, which gave family doctors a pay rise of 25%.

The body felt the contract had not brought enough improvements for patients and said there were still a number of problems including difficulties for patients in getting appointments with their GP.

With doctors earning an average of £100,000 a year and reduced working hours, the new contract was designed to improve the service patients received.

However, audit committee chairman David Melding AM said: "The new contract has delivered some benefits for patients in Wales, but more needs to be done to ensure that all the potential benefits are realised, or it will not represent value for money."

The report recommends the assembly give the Local Health Board guidelines to ensure GP practices met targets consistently across the country.

Dr David Bailey, chairman of the BMA’s Welsh GP Committee, defended the level of access to family doctors saying government findings suggested 81% of Welsh patients said they were are able to access their GPs service with a 24-hour target.

However, the Patients’ Association said it hoped the report would prompt health minister Edwina Hart into action and suggested GPs are being paid more for doing less.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said the health minister would consider the report’s findings.


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Article Information

Title: GP contract criticised
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 5344
Date Added: 16th Jan 2008


BBC News

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