Friday, January 19, 2007

Its all our fault (again)

Patsy is at it again.

Apparently, my pay should have been capped. I earn too much.

Given how the GP contract was negotiated, that of course implies that the quality of care which I am providing is of an excessively high quality. I will not however desist from providing good care. Its what I was doing before, and I see no reason why I should stop.

Ms Hewitt said: "I think if we anticipated this business of GPs taking a higher share of income in profits we would have wanted to do something to try to ensure that the ratio of profits to the total income stayed the same and therefore more money was invested in even better services for patients."
Right. So, as a self-employed, independent contractor, I may not take as much profit as I wish from my business. I have to reinvest the money into services which are otherwise inadequately funded, I have to effectively bung the DoH a sub.

"Now it is quite true that neither the government or BMA anticipated how much GPs would do in response to performance-related pay."

Well, not quite, Patsy. If you check the memo's from your negotiating team, you'll see that Dr Fradd et al did warn you that we would strive to maximise profits and do as well as we could. We are business people you see. Our business is health and illness management. That's what we do.

And then there's someone called Joyce Robbins, from Patient Concern:

However, Joyce Robins, from the health watchdog Patient Concern, told BBC News that the new contract did not represent "value for money".

"I do think that the doctors' unions took the government to the cleaners with that contract because, I mean, nobody's mentioned that in fact they do a great deal less work," she said.

"They no longer do evenings, no night work, weekend work - this has all got to be paid for somewhere else.

"And yet their money has gone up quite enormously.

"In fact, I understand that far more GPs are actually retiring early because their pensions have gone up so much that they can afford to do that."

Well, she's obviously speaking from a position of knowledge about these issues then, isn't she?

Ms Robbins, we still work about 50 hours a week, we are doing more and more during the day, and we didn't get paid for doing out of hours work before the new contract, indeed we used to pay for the privilege of working, and since the advent of nGMS, the government take 6% of our core budget off us if we opt OUT of providing out of hours services.

(Quite who Patient Concern are, I'm not sure. According to their site, they've been going for 6-7 years, but I've not heard of them before now. I'm also not sure that their agenda is as transparent as they would wish. Certainly to my mind some of their "Campaigns" are a little naive, though I agree with the principals behind some of them.)


If the Government aren't happy, they should try to renegotiate the contract with our representatives. All this spin is not helpful. Patients (and voters, lest we forget) don't believe it anyway, from the comments I've been getting from my patients.

In the mean time, I will continue to maximise my income to the best of my ability by caring for my patients to the best of my ability.

If its all the same to you, Patsy...


Nick said...

Here here! Just because the government can't get their ducks in a row and sort out the fiasco that is today's NHS they are trying to divert blame and lay a smoke screen over their own incompetance.

What is not important here is the 'average pay' that GP's get since it is entirely down to how well they perform. It's the same old thing, the government are incompetant so they carefully quote 'figures' that will raise eyebrows when it is in fact the %age of profits that's the important figure. This was negotiated and therefore they have no right to complain since they were part of the process that set this figure in the first place.

GP's are one of the most important community service available and that is why the government agreed to their current pay arrangements.

Local practices are one of the few, if not the only, remaining parts of the NHS that run well (mainly I suspect because the government aren't in charge!)

Prof Scrub said...

Dear well paid GP,

Please do not blame the beautiful and honourable Patricia Hewitt.

She is just an innocent flower of loveliness in the dogpile that is the NHS. I love Patricia and I intend to marry her so I would not like another bad word said about her.

I am waiting for a response to my love letter I have written her, I can hardly wait to hear her beautiful words again.

The future husband of Patricia Hewitt,
Prof Scrub