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Salaried GPs' careers 'are wrecked by PCTs'

By Rob Finch

Salaried GPs have accused their PCT employers of making their working lives a misery and wrecking their career prospects

The GPs are complaining the trusts offer terms and conditions and pay rates well below BMA-standard levels.

They have also reported the PCTs are failing to provide locum cover when other sal-aried GPs are ill or on holiday and that they are constantly being moved 'at random' between practices.

One salaried GP in Essex, who asked not to be named, said it was impossible for her to get another job locally because practices were offered her services on a locum basis, but at a discount.

She said: 'I am "sold" to practices at £40 per hour, which is about £30 below market rates for independent locums in this area. This deters practices from employing me on a permanent contract.'

The GP added said she spent a year on a substandard contract because of an error by Uttlesford PCT.

Dr David O'Hagan, a GP in Wirral, Merseyside, who has worked in several salaried posts, said Cheshire West PCT had sent him and other GPs 'to different surgeries at different times on an almost random basis'.

He said: 'It makes no sense

to have two doctors in two

practices swapping halfway through the day to finish the day at the other practice.'

A salaried GP employed by Central Liverpool PCT said conditions were appalling and there was no clear career

structure.

The GP, who also asked not to be named, said there was no management structure in place to support the salaried GPs.

She said: 'Each has a different contract. Some have more pay for fewer hours. Some are having to cover on-call for no

extra money. There is a general feeling that there is little

support.'

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chief executive of the National Association of Sessional GPs, urged salaried GPs to insist they have a direct line manager at their PCT. He said: 'You are beholden to the contracts and they can screw you for every penny. The NHS is a big employer, but it's a crap employer.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC

negotiator, said PCTs were 'learning the hard way' that treating salaried GPs contemptuously would cause recruitment problems.

Cheshire West PCT said it no longer employed salaried GPs except in the out-of-hours service. Uttlesford PCT said it was willing to discuss and be flexible with any contractual issues its employed GPs had. Central Liverpool PCT did not respond.

rfinch@cmpinformation.com

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