Government delays 'counterproductive' £150,000 GP pay transparency rules

Plans to publish a list of people in general practice earning over £150,000 in NHS income have been delayed by the government, the BMA has confirmed.

Pay transparency rules (Photo: Andrew Brookes/Getty Images)

Under regulations that took effect from 1 October, people in some general practice roles with more than £150,000 in NHS earnings in the 2019/20 financial year were required to declare this income through a national reporting mechanism by 12 November.

However, the BMA has confirmed that the government has dropped the plans for this autumn after fears it ‘could have caused disruption over the winter period’ - distracting GP teams during a period of intense pressure.

Doctors' leaders had also hit out at the government for 'singling out' GPs - after the pay declaration requirement was applied only to general practice, and not to hospital consultants or other primary care contractors such as dentists.

BMA ballot

The move also comes as the BMA GP committee considers responses to an indicative ballot of members on forms of industrial action that could include a refusal to comply with the pay transparency rules.

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘With GPs facing some of the most intense pressures many have ever experienced, the BMA has been clear that this policy was likely to be counterproductive.

‘Crucially, these changes could have caused disruption over the winter period – distracting from the immediate priorities facing practices and their patients. We are glad that the secretary of state is delaying these plans, providing some breathing space for hard-working GPs.’

HSJ has reported that practices may not be asked to report earnings of practice staff until next spring ‘at the earliest’.

Pay transparency

The BMA warned in October that GPs were reducing their hours in order to remain under the new NHS earnings limits. The union warned that it could also ‘increase acts of aggression and abuse towards GPs’ - after a year in which practices have reported rising levels of abuse.

GPonline reported earlier this month that GPs were facing a difficult choice on whether to comply with pay transparency rules ahead of the 12 November reporting deadline, which fell two days before the industrial action ballot closed.

The BMA interpretation of the scope of the pay declaration was updated shortly before the declaration deadline, to clarify that it believed only partners, locums directly employed by practices and other individuals providing clinical services directly to a practice in England needed to make the declaration - while salaried GPs, locums employed via a third party agency and other practice staff were not covered.

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