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GPs go forth

GPs to declare if they earn over £150k from 2021 for national publication

High-earning GPs will be required to declare their earnings for national publication from next year as part of new contractual arrangements. 

Under the updated contract negotiated between NHS England and the BMA last week, GPs who earn more than £150,000 per year in pensionable income - including partners, salaried GPs and locums - will be 'listed by name and earnings bands' publicly. 

Regulations will be changed in October, with GPs having to confirm their 2019/20 earnings in February 2021. However, the BMA could not confirm to Pulse when details of earnings would be published.

The threshold for declared earnings will start at £150,000 for 2019/20 income and will rise every year in line with inflation - to an estimated £163,000 by 2023/24.

The move, first announced in 2019 under the five-year GP contract, is designed to 'safeguard public trust' in the partnership model and increase pay transparency, the BMA and NHS England said in 2019.

However, GP leaders argued this is an attempt to name and shame GPs that does not reflect the hours they work, and which will ultimately fuel anti-GP sentiment among the public who believe family doctors are paid too much.

The updated contract said: 'From October 2020, the regulations will be amended to require contractors and sub-contractors to submit self-declarations annually if their NHS superannuable earnings are over £150,000 per annum – starting with 2019/20 income.

'For the purposes of pay transparency, NHS earnings will be defined initially as GP pensionable income although the scope may be broadened in future years. The self-declaration process will be aligned with the pensions return to minimise burden and potential costs for practices.'

It added: '2019/20 NHS earnings of over £150,000 will need to be declared in February 2021. Individuals with total NHS earnings above £150,000 per annum will be listed by name and earnings bands in a national publication.'

Last year, BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that there was a need for more transparency when it comes to individual incomes. 

He said at the time: 'We have recognised that there is increasingly a call for transparency to be put in place. [NHS managers] have their pay published in a public way. 

'So we accept [with] GPs who earn more than £150,000 from NHS earnings, for their pay to be published.' 

Dr Kamal Sidhu, GP and vice-chair at County Durham and Darlington LMC, warned the mechanism could produce unwelcome results - and would not adequately reflect the long hours worked by GPs.

He said: 'Although this is in line with many other fields in public services, I don't think it really serves any purpose.

'Many GPs work quite hard and long anti-social hours in various capacities including out of hours, night shifts etc. It is unfair to name and shame such GPs who help prop up many of the access services which involve very complex decisions, involving risk and uncertainty.'

He added: 'This mechanism of sharing salary does not take into account the work put in and only focuses on income. It's a worry this could be used to feed the anti-GP sentiment in a sensational way.'

Echoing his comments, Nottinghamshire LMC chair Dr Greg Place said: 'It probably is an attempt to name and shame GPs. Some people feel uncomfortable about GPs being high earners but the reason is because they work exceedingly hard.

'They’re taking an awful lot of responsibilities, they're doing an awful lot of work in lieu of secondary care, they’re doing a lot of work free of charge, which they have no capacity to charge for, so they will charge for what they can and will accept high profits to compensate for their stressful job.'

He added: 'Asking them to publish as a name and shame is unfair.'

Readers' comments (61)

  • Great: more fuel for the doctor bashing GP press. Another way of incentivising doctors: shame them for what they do. How about the salaries of those wastrels in NHSEngland, NICE and other failing public bodies?

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  • Bless.
    What a nice way to motivate GPs and retain the senior colleagues.

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  • In my view GPs earning that much are probably about to burn out; this is a great incentive for GPs to adopt healthier lifestyles and work less.

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  • They keep saying managers pay is published, any ideas where?

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  • Is there any obligation for the said GPs to declare the number of hours that they have had to work to obtain such reward?
    Maybe turn this around a bit. don't view it as name and "Shame". Time to make the very point, who will look after NHS General Practice if we don't have such people[?]. Name and be "Proud".

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  • So GPs will stop working OOH so that they don't get their names published on the front page of dailymail. Well done BMA/GPC

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  • May be OK if they get it right, but they won't!
    With annualisation, please note that if you earn more than £ 411 in a day, you could be included in this category!!
    That is as little as one 5 hour shift at £83 per hour??

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  • I expect a lot of senior doctors will reduce their sessions to bring income below the publishing level.
    Perhaps it will also encourage some practices to have more partners and fewer salaried as these are likely the ones with high partner earnings.

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  • What about publishing Managers and board members salaries and shaming them too, they are earning at much higher rates than GPs!

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  • Why do the BMA hate us so much? For a very hard working highly trained professional £150000 is totally justified.

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