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The final blog from Dr Kailash Chand – GPs deserve a better pay rise than this



This is the final blog submitted by our esteemed and greatly-respected blogger of many years, Dr Kailash Chand OBE. He wrote it days before his death of 26 July 2021, and we have decided to publish it posthumously in his memory.

Kailash was a tireless contributor, campaigner and advocate, who felt very strongly about many issues relating to medicine and politics, particularly concerning general practice – a profession that remained so dear to him long after he stopped practising clinically as a GP himself.

Kailash is and will continue to be sorely missed by all of us at Pulse, the many readers of his works, and the wider primary care community. If you would like to add a comment for his tributes page, please do send it to Ellie at any time at eleanorphilpotts@cogora.com.

The Government’s 3% pay rise offer for NHS staff is not only inadequate, but insulting. With inflation currently predicted to increase to nearly 4% later this year, the pay increase of 3% is actually a pay cut. Consultants who were rightfully demanding at least 5% are rightly angry.

GP trainees, junior doctors and SAS doctors receive a real-terms pay cut, with GPs on multi-year pay deals and junior doctors suffering the most.

Salaried GPs will get 3%, but the Government has provided no additional funding to pay for it – which means in effect a cut in pay for GP partners. The cost of running a practice now accounts for truly huge amounts of GP budgets.

A higher insult was reserved for GPs, completely ignoring the hard work of GP partners during the pandemic, including the hugely successful vaccination rollout. What message does this send to our hardworking GPs and those studying towards a future in general practice?

Singling out GP partners for stepmotherly treatment is a signal of worse things to come. The ICS model wants to do away with the ‘independent contractor’ status of general practice, and the local GP services I’ve loved and respected so much as a lifetime GP are put on a roadmap to ‘wither’, for a business model of large, distant and cheaply-staffed practices favoured by the American conquerors of our primary care landscape.

The changes proposed in the NHS bill to primary care could be the end of the general practice.

The workforce in primary care has, and is helping, the nation to come out of the Covid crisis at huge personal sacrifices. One hardly hears anything about their contribution, and they are now are a forgotten force denied any increase in funding. In my view, general practice is being ground down, so that private providers can take over.

A tsunami of both Covid and non-Covid workload, without funding, will not only accelerate the exodus of GPs – it will discourage medical students from considering general practice as a career.

The pressures on the family doctor service, which has already led to the closure of dozens of practices across the country, has also played its part in making general practice less attractive to new graduates.

I fear that the end of general practice is extremely nigh.

Dr Kailash Chand OBE was a retired GP in Tameside. Rest in peace Kailash.