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Isle of Man GPs get 1% funding uplift to attract new recruits

GPs on the Isle of Man have received a backdated 1% funding uplift for 2014/15 as its local Government acknowledged it was needed to help to attract new doctors.

The island’s Department of Health and Social Care, which as an independent ‘Crown Dependency’ can set its own pay rates, said it would award a bigger uplift than the UK Government’s 0.28% partly because of recruitment and retention issues and partly as an incentive for GPs to build more integrated working relationships with secondary care.

Isle of Man GPs also successfully negotiated with its Government to ditch the 2013/14 DESs for risk profiling, prevention of emergency admissions and dementia screening.

Dr Alex Allinson, a GP on the island and president of the Isle of Man Medical Society said that while the agreement was ‘nothing to shout about’ it was better than the 2014/15 UK contract deal and ‘a testament to an expanding working relationship’ with the Isle of Man Government. He also welcomed the decision to stop trying to reduce emergency admissions.

He said: ‘We don’t have community matrons here or a 24-hour district nursing service, and people generally vote with their feet and go to casualty. So we considered it was difficult to reduce emergency admissions.’

Regarding recruitment problems, Dr Allinson said the island is struggling because it is ‘not on the radar’ of GPs in general. It has around 45 GPs but is short of two or three senior partners and also wants to attract locums.

Dr Allinson said: ‘One of the problems is that we’re not really on the radar.  People tend to look to Australia or New Zealand. Some doctors are attracted here for motorcycling, fishing and sailing, but we also have lower pension contributions here than in the rest of the UK.’

Adding to the list of perks, he said: ‘There’s a low crime rate, beautiful scenery and excellent schools. We have the cheapest car insurance in the British Isles, because if you steal someone’s car you can’t go very far with it.’