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Minister and GPs agree new contract deal

Health Minister Edwin Poots today announced that he has reached an agreement with GP leaders over the General Medical Services Contract.
Friday, 29 March 2013

Announcing the outcome of negotiations with the Northern Ireland General Practitioners Council (GPC) on the GMS contract revisions for 2013/14, the Minister said this was a timely agreement and a significant development that will provide the opportunity for an enhanced role for primary care in supporting the implementation of Transforming Your Care.

“I am delighted to announce that an agreed settlement has been reached this afternoon. It is a key landmark as we step up the delivery of the vital Transforming Your Care (TYC) reforms,” Mr Poots said.

“I am on record as saying that the provision of safe, sustainable and resilient health services to meet the needs of the population of Northern Ireland is a key priority for me, and this is the principle on which Transforming Your Care is based. The implementation of TYC will see an increased focus away from treating patients in hospital when appropriate, with more services delivered in the community. GPs are absolutely vital in helping to achieve this and this is why it was important that we reached agreement on the changes for next year. I want to thank our GPs for their commitment in reaching this agreement,” he added.

Agreement was reached following a formal consultation process and negotiations with GPC. The key element of the agreement are increased levels of investment in general practice, amendments to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) element of the Contract to support improved performance and patient care and the introduction of a number of new National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended indicators. The Department and the Health and Social Care Board will also be working with the GPC to look at the equitable distribution of funding and the workloads in General Practice.

Welcoming the announcement, GPC leader Dr Tom Black said: "This is a challenging time for the Health Service and I therefore welcome the fact that the Minister has listened carefully to the views of General Practice and that we have been able to reach a deal that will be of benefit to our patients. It is timely that the issues have been resolved and that we can engage on the important role that GPs and their staff will be playing in the delivery of Transforming Your Care."

Notes to editors:

  1. Each year there is an annual negotiation of revisions to the General Medical Services (GMS) Contract involving the four Health Departments in the UK and the General Practitioners Committee (GPC). Negotiations at a national level with GPC broke up without agreement in October 2012. Subsequently, each of the four countries has engaged directly with their respective GPCs.
  2. The Northern Ireland proposals for change to the GMS Contract in 2013/14 have been the subject of consultation which closed on 22nd March. The consultation on the proposed changes ran from 29 January to 22 March.
  3. Media enquiries to the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0074. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Office via pager number on 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.