Viewpoint: 2013/14 GP pay award could see income drop 3.8%

The recent announcement of the recommendation for the 2013/14 uplift in the GMS contract will be viewed with disappointment by any doctor holding a GMS contract, writes Russell Finn, client principal with specialist medical accountants Ramsay Brown and Partners.

Russell Finn: '2013/14 partner income could fall 3.8%.'
Russell Finn: '2013/14 partner income could fall 3.8%.'

The 1.32% increase being suggested by the DH appears to be a 'back of a fag packet' calculation to replace the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Body’s (DDRB) recommendations.

The difference in the two increases comes down to how the contract should be uplifted in respect of practice staffing costs.

The DDRB admits that the estimated increase in staff pay costs for the coming year is nearly impossible to predict due the speed that general practice is changing at the moment. Therefore, the best recommendation that it could offer, that has an element of the increase in practice workload, was the overall staff expenses increase of 3.4% that occurred in the 2011/12 year.

So the changes the DH have made to this formula, by reducing the increase in practice staffing costs to 1%, assume that any additional staffing costs incurred in order to meet new QOF targets, natural progression of skilled staff and any additional costs of dealing with the CCGs in their very first year will be born solely by the GP partners.

What this pay increase also ignores is the increase in most doctors’ superannuation rates by 2.4%, which will mean a cut in take home pay of 1.4% even before you consider the effects of increased costs of living.

Even for practice staff the effect of a 1% pay rise will instantly be taken away from them in a 1% rise in superannuation rates.

Unfortunately this appears to be another tale of GPs being asked to take on more and more work for effectively less pay.

Average GMS partner profit is £122,000 so this could see a drop of £4,636 (3.8%).

* Russell Finn is client principal with specialist medical accountants Ramsay Brown and Partners.

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