It’s never too early to instil a work ethic in kids which allows them to understand the value of money. So my husband suggested the brilliant plan of giving ours a small allowance, which would be earned following completion of simple chores. The basis of this plan would be to give them a monthly allowance which equalled their age. As they are ages 3, 5 and 7, this came to a grand total of £15 per month. Now call me tight, but I felt this was too much so I was trying to think of all sorts of ways to reduce the figure. Age divided by two? Age minus one? After much negotiating with my eldest, I eventually agreed that it was a fair price. What I didn’t do was to bring them all down to £3 each per month. Not only would this have been grossly unfair, I also knew that I would get more productivity out of my eldest as he is able to vacuum the living room and clean out the cars, whilst the girls are on more novice chores.
Yet this is exactly what this Government is doing by eroding partnership seniority pay. They are failing to recognise the fact that regardless of how long you have been working within the NHS, when you are a newly appointed partner, you are a novice for a few years. You have little understanding of commissioning, contracts, enhanced services or finances. It is the more senior partners who will have acquired this knowledge over the years and much of this responsibility will fall upon them.
Many other jobs within the NHS have grades or merits which offer differing financial reward. If our HCA is performing an extra role, such as spirometry, she is paid at a higher grade. If my practice nurse is taking on some of the responsibility for staffing or QOF, she is also upgraded. It remains a mystery why more senior GP partners, with vast amounts of managerial experience and knowledge, will no longer be remunerated for this.
These changes will not affect me personally as, despite having a long NHS career, I have been a partner for only seven years. I will not miss that which I have never acquired. However, there are at least 20% of GPs over the age of 55. With the erosion of their seniority and the pension changes, what possible incentive is there for them to continue working?
Isn’t about time we all took our heads out of the sand regarding the GP workforce crisis and actually take steps to prevent the real exodus that is firmly in place? Eroding seniority pay is like burying your head even deeper.
Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol