Auditor General for Wales Jeremy Colman calls for tougher targets for GP bonuses

GPs should be subjected to tougher targets to earn their bonuses, the Auditor General for Wales has insisted.

Jeremy Colman said that the General Medical Services contract that came into force in 2004 needed to be “tightened up”.

The new contract allowed doctors to hand responsibility for out-of-hours patient care to NHS primary care trusts, as well as linking more of their pay to performance.

Colman accepted that the contract had brought benefits to patients and doctors, but said that better management of GPs was needed.

He told BBC Radio Wales: “What we’re saying is, the contract has succeeded in making doctors richer – that was intended and we don’t criticise that.

“It’s promoting benefits in public health, we don’t criticise that. But what we’re saying is that the contract needs to be tightened up so that those benefits come through.

He added that “the bar needs to be raised continually, so that GPs are encouraged to perform better, continually”.

An Information Centre report last month found that the number of UK doctors earning £200,000-plus in 2004-05 had trebled from the previous year. GPs in Wales made an average of £91,588.

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