Government to name GPs earning over £150,000 from October

GPs earning more than £150,000 a year in NHS income will be named publicly from October under pay transparency plans set out in the 2020 GMS contract deal.

Tax return (Photo: Drazen/Getty Images)
Tax return (Photo: Drazen/Getty Images)

Plans to name higher-earning GPs were outlined as part of the five-year contract agreement unveiled last year - but the 2020 agreement backed by the BMA this week confirms the move will go ahead from October.

The move could affect thousands of GPs - with NHS Digital figures suggesting that around 15% of the profession earn above £150,000 before tax. However, official pay figures include both NHS and non-NHS income, meaning the number of GPs affected by the new transparency rules will be lower.

The GP contract agreement for 2020 confims that 'NHS earnings will be defined initially as GP pensionable income' - but warns that 'the scope may be broadened in future years'.

GP income

GPs with 2019/20 NHS earnings of more than £150,000 will have to declare them in February 2021, and 'individuals with total NHS earnings above £150,000 per annum will be listed by name and earnings bands in a national publication', the contract agreement confirms.

Further guidance is expected later this year, but the document says this pay self-declaration process will be 'aligned with the pensions return to minimise burden and potential costs for practices'.

NHS England also plans to publish anonymous data on all GPs' NHS income alongside their full-time equivalent (FTE) status.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline last year: 'This will work in a similar way to senior managers who have details of their income published at the moment. It applies to GPs and all other NHS contractors.

GMS contract

‘We were clear GPs can’t be singled out. It will work the same for pharmacists and others doing NHS work. It will be based on 2019/20 income, so will not be retrospective.'

The threshold for self-declaring income will rise each year in line with inflation, the contract deal confirms. Forecast inflation rises under the consumer price index (CPI) would mean that while GPs earning £150,000 or more in 2019/20 will be named, by 2023/24 the threshold could rise to around £163,000.

The pay transparency rules will apply not just to partners, but also to salaried GPs and locums earning above the threshold, along with 'company directors, employees and others engaged through companies contracted or sub-contracted to provide primary medical services, howsoever
remunerated'.

Anyone contracted or subcontracted to provide NHS-funded primary care services will also be covered.

Detail of the pay transparency scheme has emerged as part of a raft of major GP contract changes in the second year of the five-year deal agreed from 2019 by the BMA and NHS England. Plans unveiled on Thursday have significantly cut back requirements for PCNs in the coming financial year following an outcry from GPs - alongside significant changes to QOF, investment in schemes to boost the workforce and other measures.

Full coverage of the new GP contract

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