Salaried GPs and practice staff exempt from £150,000 pay declaration as deadline nears

Salaried GPs and employed practice staff are exempt from controversial pay transparency rules that will see people working in general practice publicly named if their total NHS income exceeds £150,000, the BMA has confirmed.

GP income (Photo: JH Lancy)

Updated guidance published on 11 November by the BMA - a day ahead of the deadline for people earning over the threshold to declare their income - confirms that partners, locums directly employed by practices and other individuals providing clinical services to a practice are required to make the declaration.

However, people employed by a practice - including salaried GPs and other staff employed by practices - who earn over the £150,000 threshold will not be required to declare their income, the BMA said. Locums employed through a third party company to work in a GP practice are also outside the scope of the pay transparency rules, the association confirmed.

The update - just over 24 hours before the deadline of 11.59pm on 12 November for declaring income - changes previous advice that suggested anyone working in general practice as a partner or employee would be covered.

GP income

However, many GPs who are within the scope of the pay trasparency rules may choose to ignore the income declaration deadline despite warnings that to do so would constitute a breach of contract.

The BMA is currently conducting an indicative ballot on potential forms of industrial action GPs could take in response to the access plan and 'support package' for general practice unveiled last month by NHS England and the government.

GP leaders are targeting forms of action that will have no impact on patient care - and have long condemned the pay transparency rules for 'singling out' general practice. Practices reponding to the ballot have been asked to confirm whether they would be prepared not to comply with the pay transparency income declaration.

However, results of the ballot will not be known until up to a week after the 12 November deadline has passed - and the ballot is merely indicative.

Contract variation

Meanwhile, many GP practices are understood not to have received a notice of variation to their contracts to include the pay transparency requirement.

The BMA guidance confirms: 'The legal advice we have received is that no practice has a contractual duty to comply with these new rules until it is served with a 14-day contract variation notice and the period of the notice has expired.'

NHS England said earlier this year that it intended to publish names of people working in genreal practice with more than £150,000 in NHS income before the end of 2021.

Doctors' leaders have warned the move risks triggering yet more abuse for GPs and practice staff working under intense pressure. Four out of five GPs say abuse has risen compared with before the pandemic, with abuse often linked to criticism of general practice around access to face-to-face care.

The latest data on GP appointments show that GP practices delivered 28.7m appointments in September 2021 - more than in any month since well before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Face-to-face appointments accounted for more than three in five of the total.

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