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GPs ‘unfairly punished’ on funding, BMA tells DDRB

The Government’s funding restraints are ‘unfairly punishing’ GPs at a time when they are working ‘harder than ever’, the BMA has said.

Writing in its submission to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB), the BMA said the increase for 2015/16 should be treated in line with the ‘wider economy’ rather than the Treasury’s blanket 1% public sector pay directive.

It comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed that years of underfunding in general practice was a result of ‘penance’ for the 2004 GP contract. 

The BMA evidence highlighted the significant problems of workforce and morale, and the continuing decline in funding allocated to general practice as a proportion of the total NHS budget.

The submission said the BMA is ‘increasingly concerned’ over the DDRB’s ability to ‘exercise its independence’ from Government.

It also said last year’s recommendation – which saw the DDRB refrain from making a UK-wide recommendation on a gross GP funding increase – was ‘extremely disappointing’ and requested a return to making recommendations on gross earnings in this year’s review.

The submission said: ‘We believe that doctors are being unfairly punished by government when pay rises above 1% are regularly being seen across the economy, and at a time when doctors are working harder than ever to deliver a safe and quality service to patients.’

According to the BMA, whose evidence included Pulse data showing one in 10 GP partner posts is vacant in the UK, the DDRB should take a ‘bottom up’ approach to next year’s recommendation, basing it on ‘what award is needed to recruit, retain and motivate doctors’, rather than being bound by Government-stipulated affordability constraints.

The submission states that in the light of continued low fill rates of GP training places, general practice recruitment problems ‘will continue to worsen’, and that Treasury pay policy will ‘tip the balance’ in recruitment across all specialties.

The BMA also highlighted the Government’s plans to recruit 200 US-trained physician associates at salaries of £50,000 as a ‘significant concern’, arguing that ‘to achieve the same level of salary and terms and conditions would take a UK-trained doctor 10 or so years’.

The evidence concluded: ‘We ask that DDRB asserts its independence to make a full set of recommendations… We are not proposing a specific figure for the 2016/17 pay award, but we argue that doctors should be treated in line with the wider economy, where pay settlements are running at higher than the public sector pay policy cap.’

Mr Hunt said at the Conservative party conference: ’Labour signed a disastrous contract in 2003 and since then, in penance really, the NHS has not really wanted to put extra money into general practice and it been has starved of resources progressively, with increases in hospital doctors but not increases in primary care doctors.’

Readers' comments (29)

  • We older guys have you younger ones work for us .
    If you have missed the boat bad luck.
    Do dentistry like many or be a plumber ..not a GP

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  • Agree re calling him Jezza don't think its Hunt either
    Certainly not cuddly tactful sensible or politically savvy

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  • Jezza suits him just fine. Reminds me of a bruiser drinking cheep cider down the pub.
    Jezza could also be perceived as a sarcastic pet name for a horrible man.
    Here was me thinking Brits get sarcasm, ha.

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  • @|Anonymous | GP Partner|20 Oct 2015 8:36pm

    How much does it hurt that you dont have salaried slaves to clear up the mess you generate as a huge cardigan? How does it feel that the "youngsters" think you are a big failed w@nker that should retire as soon as possible? How does burn-out taste? Is it bitter? Do you even know you are nothing but a pile of ash? I thought not.

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  • I cannot believe that after the last DDRB report and the whole debacle with the junior contracts, the BMA is still engaging with the DDRB.
    The DDRB is not an independent body and not fit for purpose. They produce highly flawed reports where the evidence that they themeselves present doesn't support their own conclusions. For the BMA to continue to engage with the body is royal stupidity.

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  • Having been a doctor for 37 years and a GP for 33 years I have worked hard in and out of hours and coped with many changes
    Currently the workload is horrendous, difficult to recruit clinicians, no-one wants to be a partner. more and more admin and incentive schemes to give us back monies we had from QOF before
    I am finally forced to say the camel's back is breaking and i have grave concerns for future patient care - for my children, grandchildren and all the UK population. The political culprits will buy their care
    There comes a point where the existing workforce will burn out and care will collapse
    The remedy is more nurses, more doctors, less WICs and scrap the daft 111 and put the money into practices and premises
    In the short term more money needed not just for expensive locums but a significant boost to the salaried doctors and GP partners. Seniority payments need re implementing and be a real golden handcuff
    HELP !!.

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  • Concerns for funding in orimary care are nothing compared to the manner in which finabce is managed for the cgaritable sector. I witk in a charity supporting people with suicidal ideation, referskd from NHS Crisis teams. The irganisation has not had invouces paid fir 7 months! Doubt if primary care would stabd for this appalling sutuation!

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  • Dear BMA,
    I'm sorry to point this out if you are already aware of it but there is a world wide shortage of GPs.
    Again i'm sorry to point this out if you are already aware of it, the law of supply and demand means we should be pushing our prices up.

    You might want to consider telling Mr Hunt that if the NHS does not want to push the prices up then we will all stop working for the NHS. I know this is a wild presumption but I suspect they'll give in before we do.

    There is also no point trying to foster good will or working relationships with the government. There is none.

    If this seems patronising then I would conclude you are already aware of the potentially powerful position we are in. Which makes me wonder why you aren't exploiting it.

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  • Hunts capacity to offend knows no bounds. His purported IQ belies his incompetence. He can't remember the transient resurgence of popularity and recruitment in 2004.
    Yet again he ought to be ashamed of himself

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