Trainee pay cut would make 5,000-GP recruitment target impossible, says RCGP

The government must reject 'catastrophic' proposals to slash GP trainee pay that would see them paid a third less than hospital equivalents, the RCGP has warned.

Dr Maureen Baker: trainee pay proposals threat to general practice (Photo: Pete Hill)
Dr Maureen Baker: trainee pay proposals threat to general practice (Photo: Pete Hill)

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker warned that proposals by the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) to scrap the GP trainee supplement will deter medical graduates from going into general practice and exacerbate current workforce shortages.

In a letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Dr Baker said that the proposals – which would see GP trainees paid 31% less than hospital trainees – would make government plans to boost the GP workforce by 5,000 by 2020 ‘impossible to achieve’.

In a call for the government to reject the proposals, she wrote: ‘I am extremely concerned that this proposal, if implemented, would have a catastrophic impact on GP recruitment, leading to a worsening of the current workforce pressures that general practice is under and compromising the ability of GPs to continue to provide safe patient care.’

The RCGP said it took the ‘extraordinary step’ to intervene on the pay proposals – usually the realm of the GPC – because of grave concerns over how the move could affect the profession.

Demand on GP workforce

England is already 3,300 GPs short, and another 8,000 will be needed over the next five years to manage  the ‘rocketing demand of a growing and ageing population’, according to RCGP estimates.

GPonline reported in January – when evidence for the move was submitted to the DDRB – that the proposals could make it impossible for trainees with financial or family commitments to enter general practice.

The DDRB suggests compensating removal of the supplement with the introduction of a geographically-dependent flexible pay premium, but RCGP warned that these payments were ‘not guaranteed for all’.

Dr Baker said: ‘It's extremely rare for the college to be commenting on contractual matters, which is why in my letter I have asked Mr Hunt to enter into negotiations with the BMA to resolve this, but we cannot sit back and stay silent on something which is a threat to the future of our profession - and ultimately the care we deliver to patients.

‘It is nonsensical that at a time when we should all be working together to recruit and retain as many GPs as possible, measures are being proposed and implemented that will only serve to deter people from choosing general practice.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Revamped appraisal could combat GP burnout, says former RCGP chair

Revamped appraisal could combat GP burnout, says former RCGP chair

GP appraisal should help doctors avoid burnout by focusing more on wellbeing alongside...

Budget must deliver long-term solution to NHS pension tax crisis, doctors warn

Budget must deliver long-term solution to NHS pension tax crisis, doctors warn

Next month's budget must deliver a long-term solution to the pension tax crisis that...

Indemnity and primary care networks explained

Indemnity and primary care networks explained

It is still early days in the life of PCNs so it’s not surprising that many GPs are...

PCN spending rules relaxed in bid to boost ARRS recruitment

PCN spending rules relaxed in bid to boost ARRS recruitment

Primary care networks (PCNs) that have struggled to recruit in 2019/20 can now use...

RCGP rejects change in stance on assisted dying

RCGP rejects change in stance on assisted dying

The RCGP is set to remain opposed to a change in the law on assisted dying despite...

Surgical mask advice for GPs as coronavirus forces practice closures

Surgical mask advice for GPs as coronavirus forces practice closures

GPs have been advised to wear surgical masks and other protective equipment if contact...