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Independents' Day

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)

  • I think this plays into GPs hands. The 150k will be taxable income so not include personal SA or employers SA. It will only include NHS GP work. For example a GP who works for NHSE in admin but does two sessions a week As a GP should only declare the pay for 2 sessions. The other work is not as GP. Those GPs who run mega practices are managers and not GPs so should only declare money from GP work. With these rules I doubt there is any GP earning 150k plus. The press will have to admit there are no grossly paid GPs.

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  • You never see the press complaining about how much private ophthalmologists in London make? Or their orthopaedic consultants........ its just bash the GP again and again.... another reason to stay in Australia..... Most full time GPs I know here are on at least £200k- which is still nothing compared to 'specialist' pay....which is often a 7 figure salary.....

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  • Will they also publish the exorbitant tax, I’m paying ? Income tax, loss of personal allowance , pension tax, employers & employees NI contributions. Add NHS pension contributions and MDU subs and I’m down by at least 65%. From the remaining 35%, I’m paying the mortgage for an overpriced ex local authority 3 bed semi in an overinflated property market in the Southeast of England. Not to mention the value of the crumbling £ for EU migrants like me.
    If the job and the income is that great, why do we have a recruitment crisis?
    339 FTE GPs down in 12 months in England alone, now Brexit, I wish those nutters in Westminster luck in explaining all this to the average Daily Mail reading electorate during their next campaign.

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  • And the BMA negotiated this? I now plan to cancel my BMA membership which I have held for 28 years!

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  • So if you are one of the last partners standing and earn over this amount, work massive hours you should be shamed into retirement ?
    Or move to Oz?
    Go part time as a locum?

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  • I am likely to be on the list when the time comes. I however feel it is totally unfair to pick out those of us who choose to work longer hours.

    Why does a GP working 9 sessions and 2 out of hour sessions per week - making 155k / year have to end up on the list. But a second GP working 5 sessions per week earning 140k/ year not end up on the list.

    If anything we should be in the process of encouraging people to work full time.

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  • Crazy idea. A list of high earners for all the fraudsters in the world to target. On the same principle of getting public money, I assume the government will be publishing a list of everyone who gets total benefits of more than say £10K per year?

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  • Even patients are now all saying to themselves when they see a Gp “I don’t know why you do this crap job mate and tolerate all this crap like having to publish your salary lol but I’ll just still abuse you with my bogroll of state funded social problems over the next 10 minutes”

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  • Am in Canada on holidays. My doctor friends here are laughing at the idea of this and also the amount!
    We really are a bunch of chumps. GPs in the U.K. that is!

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  • This country has a toxic attitude towards those who work hard for money.

    What do you expect from socialism bordering on communism.

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