Publication of GP Earnings

As part of the government’s aim for transparency of public workers’ pay, it is a new contractual requirement from 1 April 2015 for all GP practices to publish the mean earnings for all GPs in their practice on their website by 31 March 2016.

The earnings to be reported are solely those related to the core NHS contract and therefore include the following main elements:

  • Global Sum/MPIG
  • QOF
  • Seniority
  • National enhanced services
  • Item of service fees for specific vaccination/ immunisation services
  • Personally administered drug reimbursements/ PA fees

The following main items are therefore excluded from the calculation:

  • Premises reimbursements
  • Local enhanced services
  • Reimbursement of non-PA drugs and non-PA dispensing fees
  • CCG income
  • Extended services
  • Education and training income
  • Reimbursed locum fees re maternity/paternity/ sickness leave etc
  • Non-NHS income

Expenses need to be matched against the above income sources where possible and included/excluded from the calculation accordingly. Expenditure where it is not possible to match directly to an income stream should be apportioned on a fair and reasonable basis.

The number of GPs by which to divide the resultant net income figure in order to achieve the mean earnings figure for the practice is based on a headcount of the number of GPs (equity partners, salaried and locum GPs) who worked at the practice for at least a 6 month consecutive period during the year.

The published figure should be accompanied by a note detailing the number of full-time and part-time GPs in the practice, with any GP working less than 8 sessions per week deemed to be part-time.

Whilst the above methodology applies to all practices, unfortunately there appear to be a number of serious problems with this calculation, namely:

  • The earnings figure published is not representative of GPs’ actual earnings.
  • Given the lack of guidance on how to apportion expenditure, comparability of figures between practices is not going to be meaningful.
  • There is huge scope for ‘creativity’ within the calculation with the result that practices are open to ‘manipulate’ the figures to suit their purposes.
  • There is no account taken of the number of sessions worked – it is purely worked out on a head-count basis.
  • There does not appear to be any direct policing/ sanctions for failing to comply with this new initiative.

In summary, it would appear this new requirement for GP practices is going to need a considerable amount of refinement in future years in order to make the published figure meaningful and comparable between practices. We understand there are unlikely to be any major changes made in the second year (2016/17), but in the longer term it is possible that earnings for each individually named GP at the practice will have to be made public, which is clearly likely to be an extremely controversial and unpopular move.

To find out more about the services that we offer, visit our Medical page.

Comment

Stephen Hillyard

Manager, Audit & Accounts
I am a manager in the Audit and Accounts Team, specialising in medical clients (including GP practices, hospital consultants and locums) and owner managed businesses.

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