Poll uncovers poor terms for salaried GPs

Workforce GP35 member finds PMS salaried GPs on worse contracts than BMA model.

Dr Osman Bhatti

A snapshot survey of salaried GPs by a young London GP has revealed shocking variations in employment conditions.

More than three-quarters of the practices in Newham, east London, where the surveyed GPs work, failed to pay the 1.5 per cent pay rise recommended this year by the Doctors and Dentists Review Body.

The poll, by Dr Osman Bhatti, a member of GP's GP35 panel of GPs aged under 35, also found that more than half the salaried GPs who are practice QOF leads get no extra pay for this.

Most are on contracts offering much worse terms than the BMA model contract.

'My contract has no similarity to the BMA model contract,' one GP said. 'The partners state they cannot afford it,' said another.

Twenty-one of the 23 GPs were employed by PMS practices, which are not obliged to offer the BMA model contract.

One GP had yet to sign a contract, a year into their employment. Only one of the GPs surveyed was entitled to sick leave on the BMA's terms. Out of 23 doctors, 10 had no entitlement to maternity leave, 19 no right to paternity leave, 22 no parental leave rights and 21 no carer's leave.

All but two said they did not get the two sessions needed for appraisal, and study leave and funding were also very varied.

'There is a great divide between salaried and principal GPs,' Dr Bhatti said. 'There are continual undertones of how little principal GPs are doing in comparison with sessionals.'

He urged other GPs to carry out local surveys to harden up the anecdotal evidence.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the GPC, pointed out that salaried GPs' incomes in England rose by 3.4 per cent in the year to 2008.

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