This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs are not 'greedy' – the Government is

Anger is growing over the threat of a pay freeze and the pension cap

Anger is growing over the threat of a pay freeze and the pension cap

It would be a great shame if the public came to misunderstand the sequence of events that led to the Government apparently concluding that GPs are greedy (News, 18 January).

At the time of negotiating the new contract GPs were very stressed and in many cases desperate to reduce their workload.

They were not asking for more money. The GPC and the NHS Employers team agreed on a new pay method for GMS, which was intended to achieve two aims: first to relate pay to workload using the Carr-Hill formula and secondly to agree an incentive scheme to formalise the management of chronic disease in primary care.

Carr-Hill was probably flawed but it did differentiate between workloads. Protests from loser practices were vociferous and in the end even practices assessed as having a higher workload would not have gained because of the way the formula was applied.

The quality and outcomes framework was well designed but did cause a huge increase in workload for GPs and their staff.

Most were happy with this because they knew that they would get more money. So the contract, instead of giving GPs less work, actually generated more GMS work and increased GP pay substantially.

There was also great relief at being able to shed responsibility for out-of-hours work, which had become unsustainable with the GP workforce as it was.

Unfortunately, despite GPs for years explaining that out-of-hours work was grossly underfunded, the pricing of it by the Government was too low.

So we ended up with GPs working harder during the day, achieving the targets set for them and being paid well for it. Not really greedy, is it?

Dr Phil Taylor, Axminster, Devon

General practice is in more chaos than it has ever been.

Pension agreements are being reneged upon by Government and morale is low.

Early income increases can best be described as 'short-term gain for long-term pain' as Hewitt seeks ways to claw it back while Government spin paints GPs as money-grabbing monsters.

Is it not time the author of this mess, the man who persuaded his colleagues to vote for his 'Nirvana', former GPC chair Dr John Chisholm, appeared from his lucrative hiding place running a company bidding for GP services to apologise?

At the same time could he not consider returning his CBE for which, so far as general practice is concerned, he seems to have done very little?

Dr David Roberts, Hitchin, Hertfordshire

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say