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Salaried GPs made redundant as PCTs ‘shut up shop’

Exclusive Hundreds of salaried GPs employed by PCTs could face redundancy as trusts across England cut costs and prepare to be abolished, it was warned this week, after one trust announced it was axing all its salaried GP posts.

Pulse revealed in May that NHS Central Lancashire had told three GPs, employed directly by the PCT and available for practices to book as locums, that their jobs were under review. The GPs were given a 30-day consultation period, and then a trial to see if the service they provide could become more cost-effective, but were told this week they will be made redundant.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chief executive of the National Association of Sessional GPs, said there was no current estimate of how many salaried GPs are employed by PCTs, but warned there would be more redundancies.

‘It appears that PCTs are shutting up shop and getting rid of their salaried GPs,’ he said. ‘There are bound to be other cases of this.’

A 2003 Audit Commission survey showed 58% of PCTs employed salaried GPs – some as many as 26 – with an average of 3.9 per PCT, although numbers are believed to have fallen in recent years.

Dr Edoardo Cervoni, a GP specialist in ENT medicine who was told he was being made redundant after nine years working for NHS Central Lancashire, said: ‘I have been going through the dictionary trying to find terms to express my disappointment.’

‘My wife is a practice nurse locally, my kids are in school. The disruption is going to be magnificent. The worst is I had a job lined up in Italy and lost it because of staying on for the three month trial period.’

‘It´s not that the Ford factory has closed and we´re not going to be making cars any more. My skill set is still going to be needed. It´s an emotional blow and a professional blow. The damage to me cannot be computed.’

Mike Maguire, NHS Lancashire director of commissioning development, said: ‘Earlier this year we carried out a consultation into the salaried GP service, during which we wrote to the host practices, all GP practices in central Lancashire and the LMC.

‘The consultation highlighted that the service is significantly underused and is therefore not cost neutral.’

‘We will not continue to provide a salaried GP service and will do everything we can to support the three members of staff affected.’