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New GP contract: modernisation or miscalculation?

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39055.506308.DB (Published 07 December 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1192
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    Is the 30% pay rise for GPs justified by the fact that it brings their pay into line with that of other professionals? Or is it a serious miscalculation that will mean other parts of the NHS being squeezed? Zosia Kmietowicz reports

    Rewarding GPs for the services and quality of care they provide rather than just the number of patients they treat has led to an average increase in earnings of 30% from 2003-4 to 2004-5. This is one of the findings of an analysis of the tax returns of nearly 18 000 GPs in the United Kingdom.

    The figures, published last week by the NHS's Information Centre, show that GPs earned on average a net income (after deduction of expenses but before deduction of tax) of £106 000 (€160 000; $210 000) in 2004-5, the first year of the new GP contract. In 2003-4, when less than 4% of what GPs earned derived from quality of care payments, their average net income was £81 566. Under the new contract, between a third and half of each GP's income comes from money earned from the quality and outcomes framework (QOF) scheme, the system designed to incentivise GPs and improve quality.

    GPs working in practices operating under one of the variants of the new contract, the personal medical services (PMS) contract, saw their income rise by 27%, whereas …

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