The elevation in GP's pay is after the 2004 new contract. This is to encourage more to join as GPs historically earned less than hospital doctors, and trainee medics were put off becoming a family doctor because of the perceived high workload and a responsibility for 24-hour cover.
The contract brought with it two points in doc's favour like no responsibility for providing care to the patients on their list 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also in regard to the NHS's financial situation, the way GPs were paid changed with around two thirds of their income being linked to whether they delivered quality services in certain areas.
The catch came when the contract was being negotiated, the government estimated GPs would meet about 70% of the target. Instead - and the BMA says it warned of this - GPs hit around 90%. This meant the GP contract cost the government £300m
Due to this the government says patients are being benefited.
Dr Hamish Meldrum, head of the BMA's GPs committee, said the new contract was leading to improvements in care. "In the area of raised blood pressure alone (hypertension) GP care under the new contract means that over a five year period, 8,700 patients in England will avoid having a heart attack, stroke, angina or heart failure."
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