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PCC to investigate Daily Mail over £380,000-a-year GP pay claims

By Steve Nowottny

Exclusive: The Press Complaints Commission has launched a formal investigation after a Daily Mail story claimed GPs are earning as much as £380,000 a year.

A spokesman for the commission told Pulse it had received ‘seven or eight' complaints from doctors regarding the accuracy of the Mail's front-page story on Tuesday.

The story, based on figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 22 PCTs, claimed to have ‘found one GP earning £380,000 a year and a number pocketing more than £300,000' - although it admitted that ‘in some cases the figures include cash GPs have to pay out for staff salaries and rents'.

The spokesman said the PCC would be investigating a representative ‘lead complaint'.

‘It's a complaint about inaccuracy – some of the points are about the headline, some of them are about other details in the story,' he said.

‘We're formally investigating, and that involves us going to the newspaper and asking them for its response to the complaint and taking it forward that way.'

The time to taken to investigate complaints varied, he added, but typically took around 30 days.

Meanwhile a BMA spokesperson said that GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman has written a formal letter of complaint to the Daily Mail editor as a first step, ahead of a possible complaint to the PCC.

‘Unless we receive a favourable response we will be going to the PCC,' she said.

The PCC advises complainants to first write to the editor of a newspaper and allow a week for reply before referring the matter to the commission.

But a spokesperson for the Daily Mail said that it stood by its report, and insisted that all of its figures were 'totally accurate'.

'Our story was accurate and balanced,' she said. 'We said prominently in the story on page one that some of the GPs paid £300,000 or more have to pay some of the costs of their practices out of that money.'

'We repeated this on page two in direct quotes from the BMA.'

She added that NHS North East Essex, which provided the £380,000 headline figure in its response to an FOI request, had subsequently said that the figure was based on information supplied by the GP in question - and was based on a number of contracts with the local NHS.

The PCC is to investigate after the Daily Mail claimed some GPs earn £380,000 a year The PCC is to investigate after the Daily Mail claimed some GPs earn £380,000 a year

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