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Independents' Day

GPs overwhelmingly against move to a salaried profession

GP delegates have voted overwhelmingly against suggestions for all GPs to become salaried at the Pulse Live conference in London today.

Asked the question whether all GPs should become salaried, only a handful of delegates raised their hands in favour of such a suggestion after listening to a debate of GP leaders.

Last year, former RCGP chair Professor Clare Gerada claimed that the partnership model has become ‘anachronistic’, and suggested the profession should move to a wholly salaried model, while Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham predicted a move to a GP salaried profession.

But at the debate in London today, delegates were overwhelmingly against such a suggestion.

Speaking in the panel debate, GPC member and Surrey GP Dr Dr Richard Van Mellaerts argued against the point by saying the small adaptable model is the only way to keep general practice sustainable and the Government could not afford all GPs to be salaried.

He said: ‘If we do move to a salaried service, the Government is not going to turn up with a big chequebook and buy us out. They are not going to buy our premises off us and move our staff across. They are going to run us out of business and set up with private companies. We will be working for them, on their terms and conditions and it is not going to be a lot of fun.’

Also arguing against the suggestion, Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage said: ‘The system that we have had for the past 60 years has allowed GPs to be advocates for patients, where we can maintain our autonomy away from being overmanaged by overzealous NHS managers looking to make cuts, and the ability that we have to state our views and our attitude outside the NHS machine and still remain working. I think they count for a huge amount and we will sacrifice those at our peril.’

Arguing in favour, Professor Azeem Majeed, professor of primary care and head of the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial College London and a GP in Clapham, said: ‘We lack the protection that NHS employees have, such as sick pay, CPD and other benefits that employees would gain… We see bodies like the BMA and RCGP trying to increase our funding but they are not doing very well in that, they are facing a very tough Government.’

He added that if the profession went salaried, ‘we would be able to have workforce planning, so that we would be able to place GPs where they were most needed’.

Readers' comments (25)

  • Vinci Ho

    Patients trust GPs much more than politicians, fact.
    So who should have the upper hand as far as freedom and autonomy are concerned ?
    Duty of candour will only be a fantasy if every GP is salaried....... I certainly will have to go anonymous on these comments in Pulse, ha ha ha.....:.

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  • I think salaried profession is coming our way and as already pointed the government is trying it's best to put us out of business. I believe there is a Chinese saying - when the rabbits are gone, hunting dogs will be eaten (or something like that, Vinci will correct me if I'm wrong). As far as the government is concerned they've exhorsted our usefulness and now sees us as a sacrificial scapegoat for failing NHS.

    I think we'll all have to start looking at safe option for us as a business partner - do you have enough to pay the staff off if you fold your business? The premisis? the contract you have with various companies (telephone, equipment rentals, etc)? Drug/perishable stocks? And that's even before you think about our own income.........

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  • Vinci Ho

    probably easier to put it in this way:
    Cook the hounds when they are no longer needed after all the hares have been run down
    (i am not alllowed to write any Chinese words in this box according to the modeartor these days,ha ha, ha)

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  • Sorry I think it is the other way around. While our income depends on delivering government political initiatives we are on the hamster wheel of change to attract votes for the government.
    Give me a salary and I will just get on with my job rather than having to invent the latest ' preventing the patient being ill and dying DES'.
    Have resigned my partnership in the last week and a weight is suddenly lifted off my shoulders....

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  • Having been both a partner in a practice - then like Professor Majedd a university employee and then again a independent GP contractor once more I know what I prefer - GP partner every time. Better off financially as a GP partner (may change over next few years as the current government seems hell bent on the one hand destroying General Practice financially and expecting on the other hand to dump more secondary care in GP land) Hopefully with the election next year the Tories and their lap dogs the LibDems will be swept out of No 10 - GPs always fare better financially over last 60 years under Socialist rather than right wing administrations. Tories run GP into the ground as best they can - Labour tries to rejuvinate our medical tribe.

    Guess who I'm voting for in 2015 - I voted libDem last time like a lot of other's to keep the Tories out - had I known they would be the vehicle to get them in - we only have ourselves to blame for the recent distruction of General Practice.

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  • All should be salaried, no discrimination and exploitation

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  • >All should be salaried, no discrimination and exploitation

    Ha bloody Ha- once we are all salaried and employed by Virgin you will discover what exploitation really means.

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  • After 17 stressful and unfulfilling years in general practice, I'm preparing to cut down gradually from F/T to one day a week if I can. Won't matter if I'm salaried or not. I'll be my own boss the rest of the week.

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  • I think there are many advantages of a partnership model - but I think, on balance it is a millstone around our neck and does not allow us to negotiate a decent contract with respect to work load, time out for engaging in non practice activity, CPD and many other issues
    I think and have done since becoming a partner in 1992 think its past its sell by date.

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  • I didn't realize being a salaried GP will allow us to negotiate the above issues better then being an independent contractor.

    I would have thought if we ask became salaried over night, demand (lower then you'd think as most employer will cost cut by replacing GPs with alternate clinician. Just look at nhs111) vs supply (which will out strip demand as all of us will suddenly become jobless, desperate for work) will mean we will all be a cheap labour.

    But what would I know? I don't own a multi million chain of surgeries nor do I have experience of chairing an institution during it's most disastrous period in it'd history, I'm only a common GP trying to sustain a past sell by date partnership!

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