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CAMHS won't see you now

Is publishing your salary taking transparency a step too far?

The NHS Alliance chair is admirably open about his earnings, but patients won't necessarily thank him for it.

By Richard Hoey

The NHS Alliance chair is admirably open about his earnings, but patients won't necessarily thank him for it.

Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, earns just under £100,000 a year pro rata from his NHS work.

I know this not because I have been rooting through his bins or hacking into his practice accounts, but because he has told us so, on the BBC website.

It's the latest stage in a campaign by the Alliance to get GPs to open up about their pay, as an antidote to the nonsense served up by the Daily Mail about £380,000 fat cats.

Dr Dixon thinks patients will stop grumbling on the bus about how much doctors earn if they can just log onto the internet and check out their own GP's vital stats.

But is he right? Average GP salaries are already published by the NHS Information Centre, but that doesn't stop the Mail from picking any number, multiplying by 2.5, adding a few zeros and getting itself in a froth.

And in any case, GPs as a highly skilled subset of the population are always going to have salaries that a large sector of the public finds rather outlandish.

Dr Dixon may assume BBC Online's readers will have considered a hundred grand fair play if you can get it, but I'd be willing to bet more than a few will have raised their eyebrows and thought, blimey, he's on more than my MP!

Transparency is one of the buzzwords of our times, but let's be honest, there's something just a bit weird about being too open about salaries.

Like sex, money plays to the basest of human emotions, and stirs up all sorts of unsavoury feelings of jealousy and resentment.

At the moment, Daily Mail readers may well feel that resentment against general practice, but at least the bad feeling is dispersed across a whole profession.

The moment individual GPs publish their own earnings, is there not a risk they will become the very real, specific focus of the jealousy of their patients?

You don't think so? OK, let's have your numbers in the comment box below.

By Richard Hoey, Pulse editor

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