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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)

  • Anonymous | Salaried GP | 06 January 2015 7:24pm

    That was some list..I've signed up to Pulse to consider GP. Maybe I'll do histopath or something, 9 months to see a positive change

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  • 06 January 2015 7:24pm

    there is a global shortage of doctors

    look at usmle for US, australia, new zealand, canada, singapore, and the middle east .

    do a google search for jobs for doctors abroad - there are loads.

    also check out the bmj careers fair in october.

    there are also resources on the net on career planning eg www.medicalcareers.nhs.uk/

    i think we will get clarity in may 2015 on what the likely future is ...

    good luck :)

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  • Junior doctor | 06 January 2015 9:54pm

    there is a global shortage of doctors

    look at usmle for US, australia, new zealand, canada, singapore, and the middle east .

    do a google search for jobs for doctors abroad - there are loads.

    also check out the bmj careers fair in october.

    there are also resources on the net on career planning eg www.medicalcareers.nhs.uk/

    i think we will get clarity in may 2015 on what the likely future is ...

    good luck :)

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  • second year mature medical student here..they keep saying to us 50% of us will be GPs... if this pay cut comes in by the time I have to decide on speciality then I dont think ill choose GP. I shall probably choose psychiatry or something else instead.

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  • 07 January 2015 10:43am

    Don't get me wrong - being a doctor is a wonderful thing and opens a lot of doors. The problem is we are not respected or treated fairly in the UK.

    do some internet research and you will find you have a lot of options but do you really want to get involved in a speciality that our leaders are trying to eliminate?

    It is really demoralising to constantly read negative articles in the press about your profession when all one tries to do is their best. Worst still is when our own leaders stick the knife into us.

    Do your research and think very carefully about career planning. The GP training scheme is good but then what? if we move as planned to a total salaried workforce pay and locum opportunities are going to be restrained - you may become trapped in a high risk low pay profession and a waste of your talent. As we become a more 'controlled' work force and lose independence our ability to innovate will go as well. As a salaried doc I have to do what I'm told - I may as well have been an accountant (with less regulation). I'm like others are looking for a way out.

    I note that 'those' who are calling for a salaried workforce are not willing to outline terms and conditions - that should be a warning to you.

    if i was in your shoes i would look at usmle and USA - pref florida or california.

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  • For being briliant at our jobs and alongside medical research and innovation, we now live longer but it costs the NHS a hell of lot to maintain this, but achieving this also it means pensioners draw their pensions for longer, and cost the state more when they all lose their memories and then go into homes!-and that's just the nhs staff! who have been pickling their brains just to cope with the emotional toll of their jobs and politically timed media crap that they have to face!

    But also. years of using the NHS as a football for political gain has finally sown the seeds of its destruction, using it as a tool to score points has driven up massive patient demand and expectation, and wasted billions on pointless management consultants, hospitals in the middle of nowhere that are now closed and white elephants like NPFIT,etc, etc.

    The country is £1Trillion+ in debt, things are NOT going to get any better, no matter what anyone says!
    Health is the 2nd biggest budget and is also the biggest employer! and what's the biggest cost in any service?

    I don't think its cynical to suggest that the destruction of primary care is deliberate! everyone knows (unless there are monstrously stupid politicians?) that 90% of patient encounters are in primary care, get that wrong, then the cost is borne elsewhere in the NHS/social system.

    So whilst the in North Eas it is likely they are going to fill ONLY15% of the GP training places available! the Govt wants to pull this trick out, this can only mean they want to deliberately ruin
    healthcare so as to reverse the nations health successes! meanwhile shafting the workforce so that we collapse before we see any of our diminishing pension!

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  • To the medical student considering psychiatry- don't bother.
    Although it was a fabulous career it is far too stressful nowadays and benefits no longer outweigh the risks.
    If a patient kills themselves the coroners court now look at whether you have breached their right to life and if you detain a patient you are breaching their right to liberty. Guilty families can now refer you to the GMC who do not understand nor care how dynamics can influence complaints.
    Add to that the generalized stigma you and your patients are under, a five year pay freeze and it becomes an unappealing long term career.

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  • Alison Glover

    for true rewarding general practice, with minor surgery, fracture management, palliative care, home visiting and a stable patient base come and work in New Zealand.. happy to help arrange short term trials if any one keen. Manchester trained 1988 and loving NZ.

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  • this is happening due to GP trainers colluding with unfair practices. They nodded and allowed the eportfolio to be used as a form of assessment. they nodded and were happy for the unfair CSA exam to continue despite having only 1 examiner, no access to your video footage and dubious feedback.These same GP trainers see a registrar as an opportunity to exploit someone for work and will b quite happy for them to do all the work, visits bloods etc and then when they fail a csa exam with actors they will happily condemn them in the educators notes eportfolio section (just to cover themselves). It is the dark reality. They also while voicing their concerns about trainees/patient safety will be quite happy to employ a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant neither of whom have done the csa or akt. They dont have any worries about patient safety for nurse practitioners or physician assistants because they are cheaper to employ. and then moan they have a recruitment crisis.
    this problem was created by older greedy GPs. They have wrecked the future of younger GPs through their actions

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  • total unmitigated insanity.
    on top of the tsunami of unbelievable incredible stupidity from this sick failed disgusting repellent government...i would definitely support strike action...they are truly wrecking gp and nhs...time to viciously attack these utter *astards before they cause even more patient suffering by their callous incompetence...mind you i am not surprised after seeing how they treat people via their failed wasteful lickspittles like atos and nhse..caredata etc.callous inhumane and frankly evil.
    this government is hugely vulnerable on the nhs social care and esa..witness the suicides caused by the revolting atos failure..gps rcgp...if you genuinely care about patient care and gps..prove it now by a ruthless unrelenting attack and so contribute to the vital endeavour of utterly crushing this abortion of a misgovernment which in its inhumanity ,riding roughshod over democracy..2012..and frank corruption...is beneath contempt.

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