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Dr Di Aitken: ‘We are paid less than our salaried GP’

Lambeth GP Dr Di Aitken explains how a PMS review has threatened patient services and cut partner earnings

We switched to a PMS contract in 2001 and our original objectives closely matched Lambeth’s health needs at that time.

But last year, we were called to a meeting.

We were given a presentation and at the end of the meeting we were given an envelope telling us how much we were going to lose.

Ours was £179,000. It was a huge chunk of our funding.

The funds cut were spent on clinical staff and now we and our patient access and services are hurting. We are the second-largest practice in our borough, with some of the highest needs in the UK.

We have extremely high consultation rates due to the high disease prevalence rates, particularly mental health issues. 

We are still providing these services, but we are having to fund it with different methods. The clinical need doesn’t go away just because the money goes away.

We [the partners] are now being paid less than our salaried GP, and I know that is not unusual because I am part of a peer support group and it is the same across the board.

We didn’t cut the nurses’ pay. These two outreach nurses were paid for by the PMS funding, which then disappeared.

They were doing work with frail, elderly people with long-term conditions, just the services that are needed now that more hospital work is shifting to be carried out in the community.

We are having another pay cut this month – it is going to be a reduction of around 40%.

We do good things, but we now have our arms tied behind our backs.

Dr Di Aitken is a GP in Lambeth, south London 

In a statement issued to Pulse, NHS Lambeth said: ‘Our review has given us the opportunity to refocus and better incentivise the provision of primary care contracts to be more closely aligned towards our priority health goals which seek to address the highest health needs in Lambeth, as prioritised by local people and health professionals.’

Read the full investigation: ‘PMS practices squeezed as funding reviews bite’

Readers' comments (10)

  • Greedy partners-now the shoe is on the other foot. Guess you paid your salaried Dr's pitence as well in the first instance.

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  • Azeem Majeed

    My own practice in Lambeth attended the same meeting as Dr Aitken's practice and has also had a very large cut in its PMS budget. I've discussed how this might affect primary care in England in articles published in the Guardian, Pulse and the BJGP. See:
    http://goo.gl/XH2KN
    http://goo.gl/gnLm6
    http://goo.gl/PjXMy

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  • We are an urban non-dispensing GMS practice ie financially in the lowest category. Why are areas of deprivation being attacked while all the cushy, leafy practices with big incomes in affluent areas artifically shielded??

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  • Case study: ‘We are paid less than our salaried GP’

    Let me think about this.

    Got it! Resign from the partnership and become a salaried GP.

    Problem solved!

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  • Love the greedy comment! Obviously has no idea why partnership protects patients and services. (I'm a victim to a troll for giving it any time or credence.)
    Workload in affluent 'leafy' practices is incredibly high too. When it all goes private and 'piece' work the real worth of 'greedy' partners will suddenly be realised as all the good will dissapears.
    (I was in doing QP work at 630 this am so I wasn't disturbed by patients getting in the way of my box ticking to collect the filthy lucre I'm going to recieve- counter troll.)

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  • anonymous 9.09

    Have you an axe to grind?

    Are you salaried and paid a pittance ?

    We are a partnership of five doctors. We have only ever recruited partners. We worked out long ago that salaried doctors were not cheaper to the practice.

    There is a big misconception as to how much partners are paid. The hourly rate is not huge. We just work many hours.

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  • Anonymous 2.36pm

    And salaried GPs don't work hard?

    Your practice is an exemption. But it is time for a 2 tiered hierachy system in General Practice to go. Partners have been greedy; paying salaried GPs to see their patients whilst they sit in meetings telling everyone how hard their lives are.

    See in the interview room once it's all privatised. Hope your CV is looking good.

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  • anonymous 7:02

    If you were offered a partnership, would you take it ?

    Many partnership vacancies have few applicants which suggests that locums and salaried GPs know exactly what partnership entails.

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  • Anonymous 9.24

    Of course I wouldn't.

    What would I do with £150,000 pa?

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  • Reduce the number of NHS sessions and start developing private practice, until the conservatives are removed and labour come back in.

    -- anonymous salaried!

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