BMA calls for 1% income uplift 'as a minimum'

The BMA has called for a 1% uplift in income for GPs 'as a minimum' in 2013/14 and argued that any increase should be applied to net incomes for partners and salaried GPs.

The BMA said the formula for uplift calculations may need to be revised

In its annual submission to the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB), the BMA said the formula for calculating an uplift for GP contracts may need to be revised because of the 1% cap on public sector pay increases.

It said this was because salaried GPs and partners have had a drop in income as a result of a rise in expenses.

The BMA called on the DDRB to take into account new expenses for partners, including costs of rising pension contributions, gathering revalidation evidence, Care Quality Commission registration and investment in premises

The BMA said that salaried GPs were also experiencing rising costs as a result of the increase in GMC fees and medical indemnity insurance premiums.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: ‘In recent years, doctors have accepted that they need to play a part in dealing with the economic downturn but successive, ongoing pay freezes are now beginning to take their toll with morale plummeting across all groups of doctors across the NHS.

‘Consultants have seen their pay decline to 2003 levels, while GPs are being squeezed by a financial straightjacket of falling pay and rising staff costs. At almost every turn junior doctors are facing costs and charges related to training and registration at a time when their pay is going down.

‘The BMA’s evidence to the DDRB outlines a number of ways these problems can be addressed, from a revision of the formula used to agree GP pay uplifts to specific allowances for junior doctors.

‘It is vital that the DDRB recognises that we need a fair approach to pay in the years ahead that recognises the enormous pressure that doctors are operating under.’

In July, then health secretary Andrew Lansley told the DDRB there was ‘no need’ for it to make recommendations on GMS funding for 2013/14.

Last week, NHS Employers told the DDRB not to recommend a pay increase for salaried GPs for 2013/14.

The BMA said it continues to value the independence of the DDRB. ‘Continuing contract erosion from inflation and against comparators has led to a significant fall in doctors’ morale,' it said in its submission.

'Despite this, doctors have made significant contributions to the overall performance of the NHS, but without appropriate recognition of their value this will not be sustainable going forward.

'The BMA therefore regards the government’s proposal for a 1% uplift as a minimum on this occasion, and asks that any uplift is applied equally to the net incomes of all doctors.’

The BMA’s submission argued that applying efficiency savings to the DDRB’s formula for the contract uplift for GMS contract was unnecessary.

It said: ‘We believe that GPs have delivered substantial efficiency savings already in addition to actual cuts in take home pay.

'For instance, there has been a trend increase in the expenses:earnings ratio that demonstrates that efficiency savings have indeed taken place, as practice expenses have increased disproportionately to income.’

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