HC Deb 15 March 1993 vol 221 cc8-9W
Mr. Devlin

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she has reached a decision on general medical practitioner remuneration for 1993–94; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

As part of his autumn statement, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that public sector pay settlements for the coming year will be restricted to no more than 1.5 per cent. In line with this, the intended average net income for general medical practitioners will be increased from £40,010 per GP in 1992–93 to £40,610 per GP on 1 April.

I announced in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) on 3 December 1992 at column 319 that the health departments were to pursue other issues concerned with general medical practitioners' remuneration in 1993–94 directly with the profession. The two parties have now agreed the relevant factual evidence, and the profession has set out its views on all the outstanding issues. After giving careful consideration to the profession's views, Health Ministers have reached the following conclusions: first, the level of practice expenses to be incorporated in fees and allowances for the average GP for 1993–94 should be £22,190. This includes an adjustment to take account of evidence that practice expenses in 1990–91, the first year of the new GP Contract, were substantially higher than the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) had forecast. secondly, that the normal rules applied by the DDRB when correcting for previous over or underpayments of remuneration should be applied as usual in 1993–94. We have noted that significantly more money was paid to the profession in 1990–91 and 1991–92 than was provided for by DDRB. We are committed to further discussions with the profession in the Autumn of 1993 on how these overpayments might be handled. Pending these discussions, we consider it only right and proper to begin some recovery in 1993–94 of the amounts outstanding. thirdly, we have asked officials to pursue with the profession their request for a substantial increase in the payment made to trainee general practitioners in respect of "out of hours" work, with a view to putting a joint submission to DDRB in the next pay round. fourthly, after taking account of the modest overdelivery of remuneration predicted for 1992–93, the decision to apply the normal recovery rules, and the 1.5 per cent. increase in the intended average net income, an increase in fees and allowances averaging 3.3 per cent. will be required to deliver the amount due to the profession in 1993–94. We have accepted the profession's proposal that this increase should be spread evenly across all fees and allowances.

My officials are today writing to Dr. Bogle, chairman of the general medical services committee of the British Medical Association, with the details of the decisions. A copy of that letter will be placed in the Library.