Practices should fight back against 'fat cat GP' stories by publishing full details of profits, the NHS Alliance has said.
The Daily Mail recently published a front-page story claiming GPs were earning 'jaw-dropping' amounts of money.
It claimed GPs were earning up to £380,000 a year, but acknowledged that 'in some cases figures include cash GPs have to pay out for staff salaries and rents'. GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman called the story 'the worst example of a deliberate distortion of the truth I have yet come across'.
The story is currently under investigation by the Press Complaints Commission.
Now the NHS Alliance is calling for GPs to promote accurate reporting of their incomes by opening up their books. It argues that the current situation - in which newspapers can find out from PCTs how much practices earn, but not how much they spend on services - is misleading.
'We should think proactively about publishing details of the amount we take home,' Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said. 'Those practices that really do put money into their services should be seen to be doing so.'
He argued that requiring all primary care providers to open up the books would expose private firms making enormous profits or manipulating the market. Transparency would also expose those practices that are exploiting their salaried doctors.
But the GPC argued that publishing un-audited accounts would be no less misleading.
GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the NHS Information Centre published accurate GP earnings data as soon as they were available.
'I think it's a wonderfully naive idea if it believes this'll shut the Daily Mail up,' he added.
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