GPs face serious financial viability concerns, warns BMA evidence to DDRB

The falling share of NHS funding going to GPs and rising expenses have left many practices facing 'serious financial viability' concerns, the BMA has warned in evidence on doctors' pay.

GP funding: BMA warning over rising expenses

BMA evidence to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) warned that 'a number of GP practices now face serious financial viability concerns as a result of changes to funding and the crisis in GP recruitment'.

'GP workload has increased substantially but limited ability to reduce expenses means that personal income continues to fall, thus completing the vicious circle,' the BMA evidence warns. 'New models of provision and staffing initiatives will not have a significant impact in the short term.'

GP income falling

Falling GP income (BMA evidence to DDRB)

The BMA evidence points to the decline in real-terms GP income in recent years, and calls for the DDRB to use the latest official data on expenses to recommend a pay uplift that keeps GP income ahead of increasing costs.

'We believe it is within the DDRB’s remit to make a gross earnings recommendation for GPs, and we suggest using the latest available expenses data from HSCIC and current cost pressures as a guide to setting this,' the evidence says.

Citing GPonline analysis of the rising costs of medical indemnity, the BMA evidence paper says: 'GP medical indemnity costs have continued to rise for all GPs, and it is difficult to switch provider without losing some extent of coverage. We do not have a current estimate, but GPonline reports instances of increases of 150%.'

The submission warns that a 'low or zero' pay rise in 2016/17 would deepen the GP recruitment crisis, hinting at the risk of doctors emigrating with a warning that 'there is an international market for doctors'.

The BMA calls for an increase in the GP trainers grant and in London weighting.

Read the BMA's DDRB evidence in full

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