The decisions came despite this week's proposals from Stephen Dorrell, the Secretary of State for Health, to pave the way for more varied general practice. Family doctors, he is proposing, could be employed in a wide range of ways to suit local circumstances. He is most unlikely, however, to agree a national "core" contract, with GPs seeking to cut back on existing workload for the same pay. Nicholas Timmins
GPs are back on collision course with ministers over the future of their work. By an overwhelming majority, the annual conference of local medical committees - which represents GPs - voted to seek a new "core" contract which would exclude work already undertaken by GPs unless they were paid extra for doing it. They also insisted that GPs must be employed individually and not in groups, should not be employed by NHS Trusts and should continue to operate on a nationally agreed contract.