GPs will not be expected to publish their individual earnings as part of new transparency measures included in the GP contract deal, the Department of Health has confirmed.
The wide-ranging contract agreement announced earlier today including a commitment for the GPC to join a working group with NHS England and NHS Employers to develop proposals on how to publish information on GPs’ net earnings relating to the GP contract from 2015/16.
Coverage of the commitment had led to fears that GPs would be forced to publish their personal earnings, with Jeremy Hunt telling the Times that ‘the public will know what salaries GPs are taking home for NHS work’, and the wording of the agreement unclear as to exactly what would be covered.
But when pressed by Pulse as to whether Jeremy Hunt intended individual GPs’ earnings to be published, a Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘He wants to see an average salary across the practice’.
The BMA and DH have formed a working group to hammer out details of exactly how the payment will be measured and weighted to make it comparable to other healthcare professions.
GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash told Pulse: ‘What we’ve agreed to is a working group to look at publication of NHS earnings in relation to a central contract, comparable to other NHS staff.’
‘So we’ve not agreed to show each individual’s earnings. That’s not what Jeremy Hunt’s said this morning, but that actually is what’s written in the contract.’
‘I think that when you are negotiating with any monopoly employer, then obviously the bottom line is, it’s often up to them if they want to impose a change – and that’s what we saw last year. He has seen the terrible effect that that’s had on GP morale and the fact that if you impose anything on anyone, without good will, then you lose the whole workforce.
Dr Mike Ingram, GPC member and a GP in Radlett, Hertfordshire, told Pulse that negotiation over what exactly was published was key.
‘The thing is we’re not employees, so a GP’s “profit”, that is the profit of a practice divided by the number of partners, does not give you a real figure. Because you might plough it back in. You’ve got all the expensive investments, and also some of that is rent, some is your ownership of the property. It doesn’t relate to your activities, doing general practice.’
He added: ‘What it comes down to is “how much is a GP earning from their basic NHS contract work”? That’s number one. Number two, once we’ve got that it has to be made comparable with other people in the public sector, it’s got to be weighted and agreed that it’s comparable.’
‘Unless that’s agreed, in a form which is an acceptable comparison, then I don’t think things will progress.’
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