According to an interview for BBC Radio 4′s The Investigation, which will be aired on 1 February, Dr Simon Fradd said doctors GPs were so stunned by the terms offered to them when negotiating their new contract that they thought it was a “bit of a laugh”. He said they had never believed the government would be willing to allow them to opt out of out-of-hours care. He went on to say they were shocked by the approach taken by the government. They could not believe it when GPs were given the chance not to do evening and weekend work for a 6% pay cut. Dr Fradd was part of the negotiating team representing the British Medical Association during the two years of talks between 2001 and 2003, although he is no longer on the BMA’s GP committee.
Since the deal started in 2004, average GP pay has topped the £100,000 barrier. While doctors now make less in basic pay – about £55,000 on average – they have been able to top-up their earnings by hitting targets under a performance-related bonus scheme. Opponents have often criticised the government, claiming they mishandled the contract, which is now contributing to NHS deficits. Earlier this month, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt admitted she wished the government had capped the profits doctors could take out of the practices because of the soaring sums.
Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team will listen to this interview with great interest! The problems over out of hours care have been enormous – and criticism over the Government’s handling of the GP contract is justified.
Dentists and pharmacists have experienced obtacles and impasse situations when negotiating their contracts with the DH and Government – and yet it is the medics who have succesfully got the best deal for themselves and also achieved national publicity on their issues and concerns! PRimage believe that it is patients who ultimately suffer – and we agree that the current sagas over NHS deficits have been caused, in part, by the Government’s track record of mishandling the GP contract. In light of the financial problems within the NHS, it is surely wrong that the average GP pay is topping £100K – do you agree?