The Department of Health has claimed GPs are happier than ever and are earning the same amount they did two years ago, in evidence to the doctors’ pay review body.
In a rosy assessment of the state of general practice, the DH said it estimated GP net earnings would remain static this year at £107,700 per year since 2010/11, with the ratio of earnings to expenses at the expected level.
Pointing to evidence from the National Work Life Survey in 2011 which it said represented the ‘most up to date comparable evidence in measuring GP satisfaction’, the DH said that in 2010 GP working hours remained unchanged since 2008 – at 41.4 hours per week – and happiness was 4.9 points, up 0.2 points on a seven-point scale, compared with 2008.
The DH reiterated its warning to GPs that the 1.5% uplift would be taken off the table if the GPC does not agree to its proposed deal announced last month.
If a negotiated settlement is not agreed, then the DH will ask the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) to make a recommendation on what the uplift to GP pay should be.
This submission prepares the way for this assessment, with the DH planning to submit evidence on the uplift to GP pay at a later stage if it cannot reach a negotiated settlement with the GPC.
The evidence says: ‘GMP pay has increased in cash and real terms relative to other NHS staff groups. On a cash basis, pay has increased by 46% over the period 2002-03 to 2009-10 (the latest year for which figures are available).
‘This compares to an increase of 36.4% for consultants and 29.9% for nurses over the same period.’
The GPC has walked away from any further negotiations following the Government’s publishing its proposals at the end of October, hitting out at unworkable workload objectives set out by the DH.
The evidence adds: ‘The Department hopes that a negotiated settlement with the GPC can still be reached and it has indicated that, as part of a negotiated settlement, it would remain willing to offer a 1.5% uplift in gross income.
‘If, however, a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, the Department will invite the DDRB to make recommendations on uplift.’