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Burnham predicts move to salaried GP profession

Younger GPs may reject the independent contractor model and prefer to work in salaried positions, predicts shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

He said that he believed GPs will start favouring direct employment as the NHS’s primary care and secondary care sectors gradually become more integrated.

The claim came as he fleshed out his proposals to put health and social care budgets together if Labour gain power, in an interview with First Practice Management magazine.

In a speech last month, Mr Burnham proposed to put health and wellbeing boards, which comprise of local authorities and CCG representatives, in charge of a single budget for health and social care in their locality.

He said: ‘[GPs] might want to spend part of their career in general practice and they might want to spend time working across secondary and primary care. I think the idea of direct employment is an interesting one and it may appeal to younger people.

‘Obviously there is a tradition of independent contractor status in the NHS, and if that works better in one local area then that’s fine. The future is going to demand much more integration.

‘As people get older and live longer their needs are going to become much more complex and they are going to need much more social, physical and mental support.

‘It won’t be good enough if these services are not integrated. Practices might be able to co-ordinate much more of a whole –person support (through social, physical and mental health care).’

Readers' comments (16)

  • And if this happens who will manage the nuts and bolts of general practice such as non-nhs owned premises and staff

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  • Cat is out of the bag! thats what GOVT want really all salaried profession, easy to tick box Govt policies

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  • Nhsfatcat

    I think if political parties, the Department of Health, the upper echelons of the civil service and NHS management or even industry leaders actually viewed what independent contractor GPs were doing for their [daily wail] extraordinary salaries, the amount of goodwill, management, medical expertise and sh*t hitting fan avoidance skills would be quantified and I'm sure they'll shut up.
    We all know that a fully salaried service with more middle managers trying to manage professional clinicians will not work. What will happen is huge increase in costs that never get to the patient's bedside or primary care setting. (Just like any another public service that's handed to managers rather than the professional workers- teachers,soldiers sailors etc...)

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  • Or Andy, they may not want to work as a salaried doctor and move into the private sector and hence worsen the recruitment crisis.

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  • We trained to be independent contractors. If I knew that there was going to be a salaried position I would have stayed in hospital medicine.

    I was attracted to general practice by the community medicine feel and the independent small business enterprise status and if that is gone then what is the point of community medicine.

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  • What cat is out of what bag?

    One contributor states 'what the government is....' without realising that this is a shadow politician's comments

    Another comments that they went into general practice to be an indepdendent contractor and yet they want to the govt to fix the market so that they have an unassaible monopoly so that they don't have to make any real business decisions at all

    The words, get and real come to mind

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  • Anonymous | 21 February 2013 9:02am obviously doesn't work in general practice - basically you haven't got a clue what you are taliking about. I suspect you are a pen pusher for the PCT, DoH. Don't bother responding to this comment of mine, because I never revisit, so you are wasting more of your precious time.

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  • Anonymous | 21 February 2013 9:02am

    You are clearly have no idea what a GP partner does. This week alone, my surgery looked at recruiting reception staff (yes, we have to decide on the cost, need, advertising fees, interviews, criteria of jobs needed etc), staff moral and develpoment, efficient prescription management, improving premisis and expanding, costs of stationaries. We've come in early to discuss QoF, podietry service, etc. And that's even before out scheduled weekly practice meet tomorrow. And we've just organized an away day to discuss more business planning - for saturaday so our services wont be affected. All this done amid the ever decreasing drawing and impeding forced pay cuts (aka impossible QoF targets).

    None of which I shall be doing as a salaried GP - unless I'm also paid a management fee on top of salaried GP fee. This is what "independant contractor" means

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  • If you listen to the interview in the link I think you will find that Andy Burnham seems to have a very good grasp of the mess that the government is making of the NHS. At the moment I would rather see him in the Department of Health than Jeremy Hunt.

    However, it is only a weak endorsement as he laid the foundations for the Conservative Government to dismantle the NHS.

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  • Labour always intended the GPs to be salaried and employed by private companies. It also left the NHS in a total mess as can be seen, amongst other things, from the abuses being uncovered in hospitals.

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