More than half of GP partners receive less pay for each clinical session they work compared to locums in the same practice. One seventh have an income lower than salaried GPs, who are employed by them, according to an opinion survey by GPonline.
For thousands of partners in the UK, the level of responsibility, high risk and workload involved in overseeing a practice are not rewarded enough financially.
Among those who took part in the poll, 82% supported an assured income. From April 2019 in Scotland, GP partners will receive a guaranteed wage of £80,000. This is not expected to be the case in England.
Two out of three partners and one in three of all GPs who participated in the survey said that locum and salaried GPs’ pay ought to be restricted to a level beneath the income for partners. However, the chairperson for BMA’s GP committee said that he would not support any threshold to earnings.
Practices are now dealing with an increased workload, which puts persistent pressure on GPs. Weekly, they are now providing around one million appointments above the safe level which experts recommend.
According to Health Careers NHS, locum work offers many advantages in comparison to GP partners. It enables doctors to have a better work-life balance and allows them greater independence, a choice of working hours and more variety.
GP locum jobs can be found by registering with an agency such as http://www.thegplocumagency.co.uk.
In England there has been a 10% reduction in GP partners. From September 2015 the numbers have fallen in excess of 2500.
Nationally, approximately one thousand GP practices can just about pay their bills and are finding it difficult to make a meaningful profit and reduce their debts. This is because the profit for each partner is beneath the cost to employ one salaried GP for eight sessions. Last year information from accountants revealed this is the case for one fifth of all GP practices.
The British Medical Association is conscious of the fact that many partners in practices are not earning as much as salaried GPs or locums, despite making decisions and managing the business, which are big responsibilities. The BMA expressed extreme concern about the pay rise which the government gave to GPs of 2%.