Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) GPs committee has commented on the revised income figures for GP earnings announced today by The Information Centre for health and social care (Thursday 26 April 2007). He said:
"The revised figures have been revised downwards from previous announcements to take account of changes to pension contribution payments. While they still show that GPs received a significant pay award in the first full year of the new contract, they are lower than previous claims of rises in GP earnings.
"The figures are now out of date. For the past two years there has been no increases in resources for GPs and their practices, not even a cost of living increase for the rising costs of running their practices. Effectively, this means a significant pay cut for two years running.
"The public should be aware that the latest earnings figure includes pay for shifts for out-of-hours work, which many GPs continue to undertake, and income from non-NHS work, such as insurance medicals. The reason GP pay went up was because the government insisted on linking earnings to the quality of patient services family doctors provide.
"GPs and their practices performed exceptionally well and the high-quality scores they achieved brought greater resources into the practices. It was money well and truly earned and GPs now feel they are being punished for their success in delivering high-quality care to their patients."