Pulse investigation reveals growing salaried-partner divide
By Gareth Iacobucci
A growing divide between GP partners and their salaried colleagues is in danger of tearing apart general practice, with the two sides increasingly at odds over pay and workload, a Pulse investigation reveals this week.
The extent of the tension simmering in surgeries up and down the country poses huge questions for the profession, with three quarters of salaried GPs surveyed by Pulse claiming they are being exploited over pay or workload.
A parallel survey of partners saw the majority rejecting accusations of exploitation, with many instead blaming the Government for plunging practices into financial uncertainty.
Our survey of salaried GPs, conducted with the National Association of Sessional GPs-revealed widespread discontent rising in their ranks.
More than a third of the 90 GPs surveyed said they have not received or been offered a BMA contract, including more than half of those employed in PMS practices, and 21% in GMS practices, where the contract is supposed to be offered automatically.
A further major concern over pay sees 94% of the full-time salaried GPs claim they are not paid overtime for additional hours.
As many as 94% of full-time salaried GPs claimed they were not paid overtime for additional hours.
And more than a third of salaried GPs say they are more likely to consider working for a private APMS provider than a year ago.
In a separate survey of 248 partners, more than two thirds said they did not believe partners were not exploiting salaried GPs, although 46% were concerned that the divide was destabilising general practice.
Partners were also divided on the issue of salaried GPs pay, with almost half claiming salaried GPs do not have a right to expect pay rises when practice income has not increased.
GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised' by the results.
He said: ‘If you bring on a next generation of doctors who perceive that they're exploited, they are not going to be your allies. They must not feel exploited, they must be fairly treated, and employed under fair terms and conditions.'
He said the GPC would hold talks about the tackling the issue, and said it was ‘in the profession's interest to have doctors as partners.'
Dr Michael Uprichard, chairman of the National Association of Sessional GPs, described the results of the survey as ‘startling'.
He said: ‘Partners have much greater financial and material responsibility as well as responsibilities for staffing; therefore it is not unreasonable to expect an income differential. ‘However, what I find startling is that nearly a third of partners felt that partners were exploiting salaried GP's, whereas approximately 60% of salaried GP's felt that they were exploited over salary and workload.'
He said the percentage of salaried GPs not paid for working extra hours was ‘shocking', and added that it was important that ‘both sides review their position and act collectively to pre-empt grumbling ill-feeling.'
An anonymous salaried GP in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire said that partners were not passing down their profits to salaried doctors.
She said: ‘Partners can get away with exploitation. They've had 20% pay rises in the last few years, and haven't passed it on to me and the other salaried doctor.'
However, Dr Asad Mubarik, a GP partner in Rochdale who worked as a salaried doctor prior to becoming a partner, said salaried GPs had a ‘much easier' job.
He said: ‘It is much easier, with less responsibility, protected income, fixed training and set surgeries. The financial difference in the majority is slim and considering the difference in responsibility this is justified.'Crack in the wall Salaried GPs Partners