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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Salaried GPs Vs self employed GPs

And while I'm on the subject of the Welsh Lib Dems, at their UK conference this week, they've raised the issue of salaried GPs. In their discussion paper on health, the Lib Dems are looking at putting GPs on salaries, rather than the current situation of doctors being their own employers, and being partners in GP practices.

But, if the party looked at this in a little more detail, they would know that many doctors here are already employed as salaried GPs, by practices, Local Health Boards or out-of-hours providers.

One of the reasons the Lib Dems are looking at this is because salaried GPs are often thought to be the cheaper option. Yet, there are still costs attached. If self employed GPs were replaced by salaried ones, the cost of running a practice and all the individual businesses involved would still have to be met by someone.

That "someone" would have to pick up the tab for the following;

1. 100% of the practice staff wages bill.

2. All the practice staff costs.

3. Salaried doctors would expect full entitlement to sick pay, study leave, etc.

4. All the ordering of practice supplies.

5. Rental charges, or else buy the practice premises and incur all the costs of running it.

6. Salaried doctors would expect to work within European working time directives.

7. Salaried doctors would expect 10-15 minutes per appointment.

8. Meet BMA locum costs whilst the salaried GP is on trade union business.

9. Picking up the salaried doctor's superannuation.

10. Change GMS regulations to take the current contract away, as it is now a rolling contract.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives a flavour of just what would be involved and the significant costs attached to putting our GPs on salaries. Maybe not as easy and cost-effective as the Lib Dems first thought?

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