I hate to remind you high earners out there. But the deadline for declaring £150K+ annual earnings is looming, and hits well before the BMA’s deliberations on industrial action will have solidified/melted away.
So what should we do? Well, if it wasn’t time to scream ‘outrage’ when the idea was first slipped into a contact revision (and it was, and I did), then it certainly is now. There are 150,000+ reasons to refuse to comply, but I will offer my top three, in reverse order of importance.
3. The declaration is stupid. It doesn’t take into account sessions worked. Naturally, those with the most sessions per week will tend to be the highest earners. So it discriminates against full/near full-timers, with the result that GPs will, in future, cut their hours to fall below the income threshold.
2. The declaration is vindictive. The Government’s justification for publishing these figures is ‘greater transparency’. But what’s really transparent is that this is simply another opportunity to put the boot in. Having all GPs’ individual earnings paraded about would have been bad enough. But restricting it to those earning over an arbitrary amount is just bullying. It carries the clear implication that those above the threshold are somehow screwing the system. And that, instead of being lauded for maximising effort though high QOF, enhanced services, long hours and so on, they should be named and shamed for exploiting the system.
1. The declaration is dangerous. We are currently working in a truly toxic environment. Every day, we are on the receiving end of abuse ranging from snide comments through verbal and written tirades, to potentially having our heads staved in by the disgruntled. Adding fuel to the fire is utterly irresponsible, making the Government an accomplice in GP hate-crime.
On my first day as a houseman – a 1:2 rota where the weekend duty started on Friday morning, ended Monday evening and involved, without exaggeration, about nine hours sleep total – I left the ward after my first standard ‘9-5’ day shift at 11pm. I have not stopped since. In 37 years as a doctor, working above and beyond for the NHS and its patients, I have half killed myself. But I’m not going to let the bastards finish me off now.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield