Proposals to cut salary supplements for trainee GPs would have a "catastrophic impact" on recruitment and lead to more pressure on doctors, Jeremy Hunt has been warned.
The chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Dr Maureen Baker, said in a letter to the Health Secretary that the Government must reject the plans if it hopes to meet its target of increasing the number of GPs to 5,000 by 2020.
The proposals by the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration could see GPs earning almost a third less than hospital trainees, Dr Baker said, claiming the plans "fly in the face of" aims to recruit more family doctors to the profession.
The letter, also sent to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and chief executive of Health Education England Ian Cumming, states: "I am extremely concerned that this proposal, if implemented, would have a catastrophic impact on GP recruitment, leading to a worsening of the current workforce pressures that general practice is under and compromising the ability of GPs to continue to provide safe patient care."
Proposals to make up for the cuts to supplements with a geographically-dependent flexible pay premium do not guarantee the payment for all, Dr Baker said, as she urged the Department of Health to consult with the British Medical Association to find a way forward.
Dr Baker said the letter is a rare intervention by the RCGP, but claimed they "cannot sit back and stay silent on something which is a threat to the future of our profession - and ultimately the care we deliver to patients".
Writing to RCGP members Dr Baker called the cuts proposals "nonsensical".