By Gareth Iacobucci
Doctors have voted to publish individual GPs’ income as part of a drive towards greater transparency in how NHS funding is spent.
Representatives at the BMA’s Special Representative Meeting passed a motion calling for the terms of ‘all financial transactions between the NHS and external contractors’ to be made public.
A separate strand of the motion said there was ‘no place for commercial confidentiality in a publicly funded health service.’
Although the motion was intended to ensure that private firms cannot hide behind commercial confidentaility when tendering on contracts, it also applies to GPs.
Professor Wendy Savage, a member of the BMA’s Islington branch who proposed the motion, said: ‘We hear a huge amount about openness and transparency and the “new politics”. but it seems hollow. We the taxpayers should know exactly how that money is spent.’
The motion was opposed by Dr John Canning, secretary of Cleveland LMC and a GP in Middlesbrough, who argued that GPs’ personal earnings should remain private.
He said: ‘As a GP, I am an external contractor. I don’t particularly want, for example, my superannuable income and my financial arrangements to be known to the public. I don’t think that is fair on me, I don’t think it’s fair on my colleagues.’
Dr Jonathan Fielden, former head of the BMA’s Consultants’ Committee, also opposed the motion, which he described as ‘naive’.
‘You need a period of confidentiality when you’re having negotiations,’ he said.
But BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said it was important that doctors lead by example. He said: ‘We should be moving towards an era of transparency.’
The BMA has called for individual GPs’ pay to be made a matter of public record The BMA has called for individual GPs’ pay to be made a matter of public record Click here for all our coverage from the meeting SRM