LMC leaders have supported a move to withdraw support from the independent pay review body after a series of below inflation pay awards.
According to delegates speaking at the LMCs Conference in York today, the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) decision to recommend only a 0.28% uplift to GP funding this year had translated to a reduction of GP pay, claiming the DDRB was influenced by Government rhetoric on what was affordable.
Proposing the motion, Dr Gill Beck of Buckinghamshire LMC questioned how the recommendation could equate to the claimed 1% increase in take home remuneration.
She said: ‘For the NHSE and the DDRB members, let me help you with your personal development. A 0.28% increase is not a pay rise, is not a pay freeze – if only – it’s another pay cut.’
‘And if these members believe otherwise, then I question their competency and would ask the GPC to explore whether the members of these teams can be helped by remedial education, or whether there is a better alternative.’
Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, a member of the GPC Trainees Subcommittee, said that the DDRB report wasn’t just going to affect current GPs but would deter prospective ones too.
He told the conference: ‘The Government says that all it can afford is a 1% pay rise [so] I take it that the government is happy for general practice to be under recruited.’
‘Of course they are, they recently postponed their mandate with Health Education England [to recruit 3,250 GPs by 2015] till after the next general election is finished. So it’s not just today’s GPs, future GPs are also being stuffed by this Government with their response to the Doctors and Dentists Review body.’
Finally, GPC negotiator and a GP in Derbyshire, Dr Peter Holden, said the idea that the 0.28% increase equated to a ‘pay freeze’ was ‘pure fantasy’.
He said: ‘In terms of “the exploring”, we’re already at it. There’s 157 comments that are not very complimentary about the review body, I’ll leave it in your hands. I think you know which way to go with this.’
As part of the same debate, delegates also deplored plans to publish GP pay – a process set to commence in the summer – as a ‘politically motivated’ decision that ‘panders to the prejudices of ill-informed sections of the media’.
This came despite GPC urging otherwise.
Dr Holden told GPs: ‘What we can hopefully [get] from this is our one opportunity to turn around and say “it is your own figure, Government, [and it] shows that we are on staff grade money, not the Daily Mail plus-£100k [pay], like you keep saying”.’
The motions in full (all carried):
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE That conference finds the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Board (DDRB) report:
(i) unacceptable as once again GPs are facing a reduction in income not just a pay freeze
(ii) influenced too heavily by the government who claimed a 1% uplift is all that is affordable
(iii) unbelievable as how can a 0.28% increase to expenses translate into a 1% increase to take home remuneration
(iv) incompetent, and asks GPC to explore whether we should continue to participate in the DDRB arrangements.
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE That conference deplores the government’s proposed publication of GPs’ take home pay which it believes:
(i) is politically motivated and panders to the prejudices of ill-informed sections of the media which are avowedly hostile to GPs
(ii) risks creating divisions between GPs and practices, between GPs and other doctors, and between GPs and their patients
(iii) must not be presented in a simplistic way that makes GPs a target for further unfair media criticism
(iv) should only be published once its accuracy has been verified by the GPC and only then in a manner that differentiates between NHS and private income and properly reflects the complexities of GPs’ working arrangements.