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Independents' Day

Part-timers will be out of pocket

I have seen little written about the financial effects of the contract on part-time partners. Part-timers form a significant proportion of GPs; not to consider their position fully would be a serious omission by the Government and our professional body.

Neither the Government nor the BMA has come clean in identifying that part-time partners who currently benefit from the PGEA allowance will lose that payment under the global sum.

At present, postgraduate education allowance is treated in most practices as personal income, allocated before the practice profits are divided up. In my case I receive full PGEA of £2,865 a year, followed by my partnership share of 55 per cent of profits.

Under the new contract, PGEA would be part of the global sum. My PGEA would, therefore, be part of practice profits; consequently I would receive 55 per cent of the global sum (after staff and other costs).

To make up for the drop in income, an increase of 3.8 per cent would be required, so 3.8 per cent of any pay rise that may be forthcoming would be used up, in my case as a part-timer, just to stand still. The practice would have to earn sufficient additional quality points ­ which would involve additional work by all partners ­ in order to achieve the pay rise.

Under the contract I would have to work harder for the same take-home pay ­ not a very appealing new deal. I wonder whether other part-time GPs have realised this, and what do they feel about it?

I understood the contract aimed to encourage recruitment and retention, but the loss of PGEA can only be detrimental to the recruitment and retention of part-time doctors.

Dr Caroline Dain

Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

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