Rising expenses would wipe out 2% pay rise
By Gareth Iacobucci
Spiralling expenses will wipe out any pay rise for the vast majority of GPs if the Government limits next year's pay award to just 2%, GP negotiators are warning.
With NHS Employers expected to submit evidence to the pay review body calling for a 2% rise for GMS GPs, fears are growing that GPs could see their pay effectively frozen for the fourth successive year.
Health minister Ben Bradshaw has also repeatedly used the example of a 2% pay award for GMS GPs to explain how the MPIG phase-out would work.
But the BMA is preparing to demand at least a 4% rise in its evidence to the DDRB.
GP negotiators pointed to official figures released by the NHS Information Centre last week showing the average earnings before tax of GMS GPs fell by 2.6% in 2006/7 to £103,530. Average expenses rose by 3.5%, a trend accounts say is likely to continue.
GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘What GPs rightfully expect is to have a pay uplift on par with other doctors in the NHS. What we're asking for is to be treated fairly.'
He added: ‘Clearly, if you factor in expenses, to achieve a 2% net uplift for GPs will require an investment greater than 2%.'
The Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA) said that increased wages for salaried GPs, nurses and receptionists were major contributors towards the rise in expenses, but that soaring charges for gas, electricity, cleaning and stationery had also had a big impact.
AISMA vice-chair Bob Senior said he expected practice expenses to continue rising, adding: ‘GPs are paying more in expenses to salaried GPs and nurses so that these staff can meet cost of living expenses.'
PMS practices also saw earnings fall in 2006/7 by 1.5%, with increased expenses again wiping out any gains in earnings.
The BMA and NHS Employers have agreed that PCTs should be encouraged to heed any national pay deal in their local negotiations with PMS GPs.
The official figures highlighted geographical disparities in how much GP pay went down. Combining GMS and PMS GPs, pay fell by 1.8% in England to £111,566; by 5.4% in Northern Ireland to £93,316; by 1.3% in Scotland to £89,468; and by 4.3% in Wales to £97,772.Dr Chaand Nagpaul: expenses could wipe out gains Dr Chaand Nagpaul: expenses could wipe out gains