Published: 20/03/2003, Volume II3, No. 5847 Page 5

The NHS Confederation and the British Medical Association are to write to all GPs and primary care organisations this week in an attempt to ensure the proposed new GP contract does not collapse.

A BMA ballot of all UK GPs has been delayed indefinitely following concern among doctors that they would not receive the pay increases they had expected if the new contract was implemented.

After GPs were sent information on how to calculate their likely income, 'thousands' contacted the BMA to complain they would be worse off.

A BMA spokesperson said many GPs had misunderstood how the size of their patient list would be calculated, but accepted that there did appear to be problems with the mechanism used to reward GPs for hitting quality targets.

A spokeswoman for the NHS Confederation said it would be reassuring both GPs and PCOs that the£1.9bn increase for primary care funding was still in place and that doctors should benefit financially from the new contract. She said the confederation and the BMA would be explaining jointly how they would investigate GPs' fears.