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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)

  • A Barrister I spoke to earned £1.3million last year, mostly through legal mediation not too contentious work.

    He basically called us doctors "mugs" for putting up with this as skilled professionals "saving lives". I told him how much I earned after tax and that a work 12 hour days etc. He said he spent that much on holidays in the last 18 months....

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    http://bma.org.uk/membership/bma-subscriptions

    If your trade union is not performing, then why pay them £443 of your hard-earned wages? Just saying.

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  • Anonymous | Work for health provider | 05 January 2015 4:44pm

    The 45% banding was originally a nationally agreed number to try and encourage doctors to enter GP training.

    the GP recrutiment crisis is worse, and more damaging to the NHS than hospital ones.

    From my personal opinion the GP registrar job has more responsiblilty involved than a hospital reg.

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  • @ Una Coales Sessional/Locum GP | 05 January 2015 6:18pm

    Dear Una
    I have cancelled my BMA membership with no regrets whatsoever. If many more did the same it might take notice of our anger.

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  • So how much longer ARE you going to put on with this crap?!?...

    (Spot on, Hasan!)

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  • I was thinking of applying to GP...but now not sure

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  • There are too many armchair Generals and resigners in this profession. If you want some action to be taken against the government then start by walking out of CCGs. You don't need the BMA to do this for you.

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  • Re Dr Browning comment 10.17 pm, brilliant, where would the government be without the GPs in CCGs?
    Of course, it would have been much better for us all to have refused to implement the changes to the nhs in the first place. I didn't want to say 'I told you so' but oh dear, I seem to have said it. And yes, the only people who get anywhere are the legal profession.

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  • 05 January 2015 9:57pm

    you should consider it -

    things to look forward to

    1) end of independent practice in less than 10 years - announced by our own leaders and actively pursued by RCGP
    2) 24 / 7 day working on a rota without no OOH increment
    3) end of EWTD so you can do 80 hr / week
    4) full responsibility for your patients even if you are not involved in their care eg if they have seen PAs
    5) guilty until proven innocent (and you will have to prove yourself innocent) on any issue - including if you don't look right or malicious accusations
    6) pay at 54 k a year
    7) increased pension contribution to 25%
    8) retirement at 70 years of age
    9) increased MDU, GMC, RCGP, BMA fees
    10) internal cover to reduce locum costs at no compensation to yourself

    there are loads of other benefits too!

    sign up now.

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  • without cutting Gp Trainees pay to put them off;NHS policies of imposing non cost effective and harmful to patients(from widespread Expert Opinion),GP and Medicine is ot the profession to take nowadays.You could be called to GMC for sulphonamide induced hypos through arresting Traffic officers ,who have glucose testing strips but GPs are not allowed to precribe of Oral Antidiabetic medication having patients.It is nit worth being a GP in todays world in the UK

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