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The waiting game

Taking on extra hours is a false economy

I don't think most people have actually thought through the implications of working extended hours.

It's not £6,000 a year for an extra hour's work - taking up the DES is a false economy. Here are my calculations.

In my practice, we have worked out that we stand to lose about £5,000 a year gross each if we do not do the extended hours DES. We do other things and have a smaller than average list of 1,750 patients each and there are two of us. We currently open from 8.30am to 6.00pm.

The new opening hours will require two members of staff to be present. The DES requires core hours of 8.00am to 6.30pm and, for our practice, an extra two hours in the evening or at weekends. We don't want to do it and neither do our loyal and hardworking staff. We all have families whom we cherish.

To satisfy the DES, we would need to open an extra 22 core hours and about nine for the extended bit, each month. Including the odd mishap, that's about 32 hours a month.

The staff are on about £6 an hour or more, hence two staff is at least £12 an hour. This is £380 a month, or £4,500 for 384 hours a year. Fuel for air conditioning and heating probably costs upwards of £3 an hour, or £1,200. So the total basic expenditure is £5,700.

A locum would want £150 to work the two-hour shift. If the doctors in the practice took a modest six weeks' leave, this would cost 12 weeks at £150, which is £1,800. All added together, that comes to £7,500.

The income for the practice would be at most £11,000, so the net income after the above expenses would be £3,500. Less tax, that's £2,000 between two doctors, which is £1,000 each - or £20 a week.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather lose the £20 or find a way of earning £150 a month that does not jeopardise my relationship with my family or my staff.


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