Survey finds 'shocking' variation in salaried GP employment conditions

A survey of salaried GPs by a member of our GP35 panel has revealed shocking variations in employment conditions.

Dr Osman Bhatti

As revealing are the implied differences in work conditions of partners and their salaried doctors found by Dr Osman Bhatti.

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

More than half the salaried GPs who are QOF leads in their practice receive no extra pay for this. Most are on contracts offering much worse terms than the BMA model contract.

‘My contract has no similarity with the BMA model contract at all,' one GP said. Another respondent said: ‘The partners state they cannot afford to use the BMA contract'.

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

The vast majority of the surveyed GPs - 21 out of 23 - said they were not receiving the two sessions allocated for appraisal and study leave entitlement 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 to their sessional GP counterparts.'

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

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

‘The BMA regularly surveys salaried GPs which informs its DDRB evidence,' he added.

‘We have set up a group to look at how we can improve further our representative role for sessional GPs.' 

Click here for more information about GP and Healthcare Republic's GP35 panel of 35 GPs aged under 35 years

Read the full version of this story in this week's edition of GP dated 9 October

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