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Analysis: Devil in expenses detail

The BMA is making a strong argument that GP pay must increase as practice expenses have risen – but as always the devil is in the detail.

The BMA argues that over the past four years staffing costs have risen by more than inflation, but there are some flaws with this argument. In the early years, practices were giving pay reviews to staff, but practices are also ‘employing additional and higher skilled staff’, the report says. Some practices have changed the mix between partners and salaried GPs – a senior partner retires and the younger GP wants to come in as a salaried GP, which is reflected in the payroll bill.

One cannot be totally confident the average actual staff cost increases are purely for non-doctor staff. There is a chance that this is misleading.

But the BMA contends practices are genuinely facing increased staffing costs, either from cost-of-living rises or more likely from extra work, and needing to employ more staff.

Bob Senior is head of medical services at RSM Tenon

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