GPs have been given until 12 November to declare their earnings from last year if they are £150,000 or more.
The Government last week published regulations that will require GPs and their staff with NHS earnings above £150,000 to declare them annually.
The BMA said that GPs have been ‘singled out’ and that the launch of the requirement has ‘breached’ its contract agreement with commissioners.
The new legislation, which will come into force on 1 October, was first announced in 2019 as part of the five-year GP contract.
Further details were revealed as part of the 2020 updated GP contract, which said that GPs who earn more than £150,000 per year in pensionable income – including partners, salaried GPs and locums – will be ‘listed by name and earnings bands’ publicly.
It said that GPs would have to submit self-declarations annually, starting with income for 2019/20.
Last year’s contract said that the regulations were due to be changed in October 2020, with GPs required to confirm their 2019/20 earnings in February this year.
However, the legislation was delayed due to the pandemic, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed to Pulse.
The new regulations said that GPs must disclose 2019/20 earnings above the threshold by 12 November but that declarations must be made by 30th April for every subsequent financial year.
They also confirmed that the threshold will rise to £153,000 for the financial year 2020/21, £156,000 for 2021/22, £159,000 for 2022/23 and £163,000 for 2023/24.
The DHSC spokesperson told Pulse that the data is intended to be published before the end of 2021.
In a GP Committee bulletin, the BMA said that the launch of the requirement has ‘breached’ an agreement made during negotiations that other NHS staff would be included and that it has ‘not agreed’ to the change.
It said: ‘In the 2019 contract negotiations, the Government and NHSE/I insisted on the inclusion of new pay transparency arrangements for higher earners as part of the overall agreement but it was also agreed that this should not solely relate to general practice but would be progressed for all those working in the NHS.
‘While the Government has published regulations for general practice, to ensure GPs and their staff will have to declare their earnings over certain limits, there are currently no similar proposals for pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, consultants or other doctors in the NHS, anywhere else in the UK.’
It added: ‘As such, the Government and NHSE/I have chosen to single out general practice and have breached the 2019/20 agreement. We have not agreed to the change – health ministers have imposed this on the profession.’
The BMA added that ‘the 2019 agreement that was reached in principle did not consider the significant changes that have happened since’, such as GPs working longer hours to cope with demand due to the pandemic and facing increased abuse.
It said: ‘We strongly believe these imposed changes risk dedicated hard-working doctors being subjected to abuse and that they will worsen the current workforce crisis if GPs seek to reduce their working commitments. It could also make it harder to recruit doctors to fill out-of-hours sessions and thereby impact A&E pressures.
‘Ultimately patients will be impacted by these unacceptable changes. We have made it clear that the Government will be responsible for this.’
The DHSC spokesperson said: ‘[Last] week, the Government introduced regulations to implement pay transparency in general practice, as agreed by NHS England and the British Medical Association in 2019, and effective from October.
‘These regulations will bring general practice in line with other public servants, including senior NHS managers.’
NHS England was also approached for comment.
GP leaders have previously argued that this is an attempt to name and shame GPs that does not reflect the hours they work, and which will ultimately fuel anti-GP sentiment among the public who believe family doctors are paid too much.
And the yearly publication of average earnings across all types of GPs in England showed that earnings increased by 2.7% last year but GP partner expenses have been rising faster than their income.
GPs have been required to publish average individual net earning on their practice website since 2016/17, following a previous move to increase transparency on earnings.
Maximise your practice's financial potential and compare your performance with peers with Pulse Intelligence. Register for a 30 day free trial.