Exclusive: Government is trying to stop decline in GP pay, says minister

The government is trying to arrest the decline in GP pay as part of efforts to tackle pressures on the profession, the primary care minister has suggested.

Primary care minister Alistair Burt: evidence government is trying to stop decline in GP pay (Photo: Wilde Fry)
Primary care minister Alistair Burt: evidence government is trying to stop decline in GP pay (Photo: Wilde Fry)

Alistair Burt, speaking exclusively to GPonline, acknowledged that rising practice expenses must be recognised.

Read more articles from this interview

Official data released earlier this month revealed that GP income fell almost 3% in 2013/14. The fourth successive fall left average GP pay down 20% since 2004/5.

Expenses across the UK in 2013/14 accounted for 63.5% of gross earnings, up 1% from 2012/13, the Health and Social Care Information Centre data revealed.

Alistair Burt said he recognised that pay is important for GP morale. ‘I'm not surprised that doctors mention it,' he said. ‘It's very real and very human.

GP income

‘I can’t anticipate the pay review, and I can’t anticipate the contract. And of course pay is only part of the experience of working, in terms of the burdens, the other things that the practice may do.’

Mr Burt added: ‘I think there is evidence we are trying to arrest all this, so as I say, I recognise that pay is part of it. It is only part of it, but it is an important one.’

The government does, he said, ‘have to recognise the pressure of expenses’ as part of addressing the profession’s concerns. ‘Some of the expenses are very tough and outside a doctor's control,' he added.

GP leaders have called on ministers to ‘take action to stem the expenses pressure’ threatening to make practices unviable.

In March ministers awarded a 1.16% overall rise in GP contract payments for 2015/16, to deliver the Doctors and Dentists Review Body's (DDRB's) recommended 1% pay rise for GPs in line with the government public sector pay cap.

A formula previously used by the DDRB to assess expenses and income was abandoned by the body this year after it failed to deliver intended net pay rises. The DH applied the formula despite previously accepting it was 'not fit for purpose'.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Pension tax solution for judges shows government could do more for doctors, says BMA

Pension tax solution for judges shows government could do more for doctors, says BMA

Government plans to 'effectively exempt judges from pension tax' show the government...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

Second-phase COVID-19 vaccine rollout maintains prioritisation by age

Second-phase COVID-19 vaccine rollout maintains prioritisation by age

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published advice on...

PCNs paid £70m for first-wave COVID-19 jab campaign as NHS plots next phase of rollout

PCNs paid £70m for first-wave COVID-19 jab campaign as NHS plots next phase of rollout

Primary care network (PCN) COVID-19 vaccination sites have been paid £70m this month...

London GP personally calling at-risk patients to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake

London GP personally calling at-risk patients to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake

London GP Dr Farzana Hussain is personally telephoning scores of patients who have...

Half of patients with possible cancer symptoms avoided contacting GP in first wave

Half of patients with possible cancer symptoms avoided contacting GP in first wave

Almost half of people who experienced potential cancer symptoms in the first wave...