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GP exposes defects in salaried contracts

By Lilian Anekwe

Exclusive: A former sessional GP has exposed what he claims is the routine exploitation of salaried GPs by some practices.

Dr Osman Bhatti, former chair of the Newham Sessional GPs Group and now a GP principal in Tower Hamlets, east London, collected detailed data from 23 salaried GPs in his area about the terms of their contracts with practices.

His survey, in an area with a high proportion both of salaried GPs and PMS practices – found most respondents complained they were denied entitlements set out in the model BMA contract.

Salaried GPs said they were commonly denied maternity and paternity leave, and nearly 90% said their contract did not offer any statutory sick pay.

More than a quarter of respondents said they were provided with no study leave or continuing professional development opportunities.

Of the 16 GPs whose practice did offer protected learning time, only two said their practices reimbursed them or made a contribution toward the cost.

Over three quarters of respondents did not get the 2009/10 salary uplift of 1.5% recommended by the Doctors and Dentists' Review Body.

Over 90% said their contract did not contain any mention of appraisal, and salaried GPs were often not given two sessions off to prepare for appraisals as recommended by the BMA.

One GP surveyed said: ‘I know there are good honest partners who work very hard and the extra pay is justified but there are others who are happy exploiting salaried GPs.'

Dr Bhatti told Pulse: ‘There's still a lot of conflict all over the country between salaried GPs and GP principals. There are efforts to bring the two sides together but there's a lot of work to be done. There needs to be give and take on both sides.'

‘There should be equality within the profession, not exploitation, and encouragement of co-working and sharing of management responsibility.'

In June the BMA announced a raft of measures aimed at healing the growing divide within the profession, including establishing a new sessional GPs executive committee with four seats on the GPC and doubling the size of the sessional GPs subcommittee from eight to 16.

The BMA is due to announce nominations for positions on both committees next week.

The survey of salaried GPs found most were denied entitlements set out in the model BMA contract The survey of salaried GPs found most were denied entitlements set out in the model BMA contract