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More shifts to overcome income fall

Pessimistic pay expectations will prompt more than a quarter of GPs to take on extra out-of-hours shifts this year.

A further 20 per cent plan to do more private medical work such as insurance and medico-legal reports. Some 8 per cent of respondents said they would take on a special interest in order to boost income.

One GP in three said they expected their pay to stagnate this year, with 5 per cent expecting a small drop and 7 per cent predicting a fall of more than 5 per cent.

A third of GPs expected a rise in pay, with 10 per cent believing this would be more than 5 per cent.

Dr Alex Porteous, a GP in Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, said he was looking to double the number of out-of-hours shifts because he was expecting a real-terms income cut this year.

He said: 'I do two or three sessions a month at the moment, but I've got bills to pay so am considering going up to five or six sessions if I can get them.'

Nearly half (48.7 per cent) of GPs said they expected their practice to try to increase its overall income by taking on more enhanced services.

One in three practices plans to become a provider of extra services under PBC and 30 per cent said they would try to expand lists.

Fewer practices planned to make cutbacks. Only 8 per cent are to cut nursing and admin staff or replace partners with salaried doctors.

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