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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
GPs 'worried' despite pay rises
GP pay has increased in recent years
GPs in the UK are the happiest in Europe over pay, but are still worried about the future, according to a poll.

The survey of 399 GPs from the UK, Italy, France, Germany and Spain, by French GP magazine Le Generaliste, was reported in GP magazine in the UK.

It found more than half of doctors in Britain were happy with their pay, which has seen big rises in the last three years.

But nine in 10 said they were concerned about the future.

The survey comes after months of pressure from the government to get family doctors to provide better access to care.

There's a sense that the government doesn't value general practice highly nor understand what it does and how it responds to need
Richard Vautrey, of the British Medical Association

A new contract, introduced in 2004, has seen average GP pay break through the 100,000 barrier, while at the same time allowing them to give up responsibility for night and weekend care.

In recent months, ministers have turned on GPs, calling for them to extend their opening hours and threatening to bring in the private sector if they fail to respond to demand.

The poll found that, although UK doctors were divided over whether they should be given financial rewards for improving the health of the population, they were the happiest in Europe with their current pay arrangements.

Some 57% were satisfied with their current pay compared with 44% in France, 29% in Italy, 18% in Spain and 12% in Germany.


However, 87% were concerned for the future of general practice, second only to the Spanish at 90% and above Germany at 84%, Italy at 83% and France at 79%.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs committee, said recent media coverage of GPs was taking its toll.

"There's a sense that the government doesn't value general practice highly nor understand what it does and how it responds to need.

"There's a constant perception being put across that others can do this job just as well."

The Department of Health refused to comment on the findings.

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16 Oct 07 |  Health

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