NHS England claims an increase in GMS funding could worsen problems with GP recruitment for practices, as it would lead to ‘inequality’ in pay between salaried GPs and partners.
NHS England stated that any increase in overall funding for GMS contract relies on the practice to pass funding on to salaried GPs.
However the GPC argued that raising funding would be essential in order to give GPs confidence to take on more staff and attract more GPs to the profession. However, NHS England rebutted that rather than attracting more GPs, it would instead increase the inequality between GPs and would ‘impact’ salaried GP recruitment.
A spokesperson said, ‘The reason that salaried recruitment would not be influenced or resolved through a contract uplift is that it’s down to the practice to pass it on. As noted in the last DDRB report, recent ONS (ASHE) published figures showed that, although there had been a contractual uplift of 1%, practice staff costs – which include salaried GPs – had fallen by 1.4%.’
NHS England also said that GP partner pay has ‘has increased in cash and real terms relative to other NHS staff groups’. On a cash basis this was 40% since 2002/03 and 11% in real terms – however this compared to a 24% increase in consultants’ pay and 19% for nurses.
It also said that the ’ average number of patients per medical practitioner in England has fallen’ since 2003 ‘partly because the number of GMPs continues to grow faster than the number of patients’.
The controversy comes following findings which state there is a GP shortage and the NHS is struggling to recruit more GPs.