Female salaried GPs denied BMA model contract

Female salaried GPs are less likely to be employed under the BMA model contract than their male counterparts, an LMC survey suggests.

Dr Richard Vautrey: more research needed on salaried GP contracts
Dr Richard Vautrey: more research needed on salaried GP contracts

A report by Leeds LMC based on a survey of salaried GPs found that 88% of male respondents worked under the BMA model contract, compared with just 39% of female respondents.

According to BMA guidance, the model contract represents good employment practice. It was designed to ensure a common standard for all GPs employed by GMS practices and primary care organisations, but it can also help those employed by PMS and APMS practices to negotiate improved terms where those offered do not meet the minimum set out in the model contract.

The BMA model contract stipulates that employees should receive an annual incremental pay increase and protected CPD and appraisal preparation time.

However, the sample size in the survey was small - just 40 salaried GPs from Leeds completed it, of whom eight were male, 31 female and one did not declare their gender. Seven of the male respondents and 13 of the female respondents worked under a BMA model contract.

Author of the survey report Leeds LMC member and sessional GP Dr Keith Pollock said the findings suggested male GPs were more likely to have been offered the model contract, but said further research would be required to confirm the reason for the trend.

Dr Pollock asked whether the findings showed that male GPs were ‘less likely to feel exploited’ or are 'valued more by practices.’

GPC deputy chairman and Leeds LMC assistant medical secretary Dr Richard Vautrey agreed that the number of respondents was too small to draw concrete conclusions about a gender divide.

‘However, it is a concern that so many salaried GPs still do not have a contract in line with the BMA model.

‘The situation in Leeds is better than other areas for which we have data but we are not complacent about it, hence doing the survey and feeding the results back to practices in attempt to encourage greater use of the model contract,’ Dr Vautrey said.

The survey also found that the number of GPs in Leeds who were salaried by choice had gone down since the previous year.

In 2011 two thirds of the 33 GPs who responded to the survey were salaried by choice. The 2012 survey found that around half of its respondents were not salaried by choice, but said they were employees ‘by default’ or due to circumstances beyond their control.

National Association of Sessional GPs chief executive Dr Richard Fieldhouse said he expected to see more GPs becoming salaried or locums in the future.

‘It's more a case of GPs not becoming partners. There is so much change that often there are partners wanting to become locums - simply because general practice is just too busy.’

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