Dr Richard Fieldhouse said GPs were proud of independent contractor status. But he added that practices that exploited salaried doctors and locums had created a ‘backlash that will threaten independent contractor status'.
Dr Fieldhouse said that he would prefer to work for a private healthcare company than be mistreated by another doctor. ‘At least you could collude with colleagues. I'd rather be exploited together than exploited in isolation.'
The NASGP chairman is not the first to highlight the risk. Last March an RCGP report by Dr Clare Gerada and Dr Vicky Weeks warned that young GPs who feel 'the ladder being pulled up' as they are denied partnerships may defect to the private sector (GP, 12 March).
Last year, a GP newspaper poll found that only 36% of GPs-to-be would never work for a private provider, down from more than half two years earlier.
GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said he had often encouraged practices to improve conditions for salaried doctors. But said Dr Fieldhouse's calls for a salaried doctors' committee, equal to the GPC, would split the profession.
Dr Fieldhouse said strengthening the GPC sessional sub-committee was an inadequate response to the problem. ‘If you were fixing this problem from scratch, strengthening a sub-committee of a sub-committee is not where you'd start,' he said.
- Read the full version of this story in this week's issue of GP dated 11 September