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BMA criticises decision to cut GP trainee pay

The BMA has said that Government plans to cut the pay of GP trainees by 31% threatens to worsen the current recruitment crisis.

In its submission to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, published on Friday, the BMA said that the plans to reduce GP trainees’ pay to match those of hospital specialty trainees amounts to ‘a considerable reduction in salary’ for GP trainees.

The submission said that the move could exacerbate recruitment problems for GP trainees, adding that the Government’s target for 50% of medical students to choose general practice is already ‘ambitious in the current climate’.

The DDRB is reviewing proposals for a new consultant and doctors in training contract, which would create a single contract for all trainee doctors, after negotiations between the BMA and the Government broke down in October. It is expected to report its conclusions to the Government in the summer.

The news comes as the latest warning over GP training numbers was issued before Christmas, when figures obtained by the GPC indicated there was only ‘one applicant for every four’ training places in the northeast of England for the August 2015 intake.

Issuing its warning over the training supplement, the BMA said: ‘This is likely to result in medical graduates continuing to predominantly opt for hospital specialty training posts, leaving general practice with the substantial recruitment and retention problems it is currently facing. About 400 GP training posts were unfilled this year.

‘For many trainees who are seriously considering general practice, this kind of relative pay cut could prove to be a huge disincentive. Those with fixed family or financial commitments could find themselves unable to pursue careers in general practice due to the financial burden of a substantially reduced salary.’

It added that ‘anything that negatively impacts on medical graduates choosing GP training could exacerbate existing workforce shortage’.

In the submission the BMA also warned against rolling out seven-day working across the NHS - a key sticking point in negotiations - for political rather than clinical reasons, and without a credible plan for how a seven-day service could be safely staffed without patient service cutbacks.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said: ‘The BMA has been clear in its support for better seven-day services, but the Government needs to be clear about what an expansion of services will look like and, crucially, how it can be safely staffed and resourced, without existing services being scaled back… We hope that, in its submission, the Government has provided the detail, evidence and modelling on the changes it wants to introduce, which it failed to produce throughout negotiations.

‘This includes detail on what additional services it wants to make available, how much they will cost to deliver and guarantees on what support services need to be in place to provide them safely. Without this detail, we are being asked to sign up in the dark to changes without knowing how patient care and doctors’ working lives will be affected - something the BMA cannot do.’

Readers' comments (54)

  • I want to get back in to hospital medicine, but as they are trying to eliminate progression pay I stand I lose literally tens of thousands over the course of the 5 or 6 years r would take me to train if I do this. I now feel trapped :( I feel as if I'm living in a nightmare. Oh I am - Cameron's Britain 2015. #cameronmustgo

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  • Secure environments GP

    The BMA needs to do more than politely asking the band on The Titanic to put down violins. Would they mind awfully re-arranging and tying down the deck chairs instead? This will make Captain Hunt very happy. He has issued a "stern warning" stating that a rapid unplanned "movement" will be unpopular with the wealthy and those of social prestige.

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  • I struggle to understand what this government is up to. It is well established that countries with strong primary care systems provide better care for less money and when patients go direct to specialists it costs more and more harm is done.

    If this story is true, then I ask why are the Tories trying to destroy general practice? Either there is a hidden agenda - increase the UK net spend on health and privatise = massive profits for some at the expense of all - or it looks like gross miss-judgement.... any ideas?

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  • Easy, the pot of money is going to remain the same, it's not going to increase, therefore to increase the number of trainees the pay has to reduce. Well done rcgp , good successful campaign for more trainees

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  • 31% pay cut. Sounds familiar to partnerships ? All incremental steps towards a lower paid Salaried Service. Master plan is on course whilst the RCGP and BMA say "it's jolly awful".

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  • even if this is the most awful sounding news, it must be a part of a bigger plan, we still havent arrived at the A-HA moment, If anything the BAPIO challenge has achieved, it is awareness that for Overseas trained doctors GP training is not the best option, hence the difficulties in recruitment. Local Graduates too are shying away from the GP training due to changes post GP training. The Ploy currently is Confuse the masses and please the classes.

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  • If the CSA could be sorted out so that it would be constitutional other democratic countries (recordings & two examiners - currently not permitted) this would be a start.

    If the eportfolio was sorted out too that would be help.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Agree- e-portfolio is a nightmare and the main thing that stopped wife and I being trainers

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  • The UK has £trillions of debt

    The NHS does not make any money. In fact it costs the Government huge sums. When Doctors are successful people live longer, post retirement, to develop yet more problems that need to be treated and higher social care and state pension (even higher than the NHS) costs. So, as far as Her Majesty's Government is concerned, Doctors are a huge problem, but of course they can never say this. From a purely economic point of view the Government would prefer everyone to die the moment they stop earning GDP!! In fact the only health care that makes sense from an economic point of view is to keep people well enough to keep earning GDP.

    Given the above, the present action by our Government makes perfect sense.

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  • Dr Richard Smith, past editor of the BMJ, seems to be making a start on the cull, to reduce HMG 's pension and NHS costs..

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