Dr Laurence Buckman: A Doctor writes

My profession is being vilified for doing what was asked

Share

The other day, I heard someone on the radio say "Do GPs do any work anymore?" It made me so angry. I was driving between three emergency visits at the time, and I thought "Of course we do".

Family doctors are now being penalised for rising to the challenge of performance-related-pay by delivering the quality care the Government asked for.

The only pay rise that GPs got from the 2003 awards was for performance. There was a modest rise for general pay but that was only at inflation rates. GP pay since then has been completely static but our expenses have risen, so it is – in effect – a pay cut.

The Government said they would only give a performance-related pay rise based on the outcomes for patients. Now we've performed and people are saying GPs are earning too much money.

The workforce were initially unwilling to accept performance-related pay rises, as it was seen as something nasty that was deliberately done to hurt GPs. Many doctors thought it was a box-ticking, point-scoring idea but now they've seen the colour of the money they are not as hostile as they were.

We heard over and over again that GPs were rubbish and would not perform; now we have performed and delivered and people say we are paid too much. This is a pay scheme imposed by the Government and now they don't like it that we have done well.

Ultimately this large pay rise was for new work that GPs had not done before. We have to put in the extra work to get that money, which involves more time spent in more consultations and more patients; that takes time. Doing that at a highly professional level is very time consuming and requires a whole team of people.

GPs do not just sit around writing prescriptions. If you want to do that, you will not get any of the extra pay. There is a huge change in culture, workload and effort required. The pay rise that people are saying is a lot of money is one of the highest levels of performance-related pay of any professional grouping. Very few others are paid on performance, they are paid on time.

If you don't make the patient in front of you better, then you don't get the extra pay. So if your blood pressure doesn't fall because I haven't treated you properly then I don't get the money.

Alan Johnson says we work 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday. My typical day is 8.45am to 8.45pm, and you end that kind of day pretty tired. I don't go off to play golf in my lunch hour or anything and I resent the implication that this is some dodge to rip off the NHS and the taxpayer.

There are less dead people as a consequence of performance-related pay. In the past year, 8,500 people that would have died from blood-pressure related illness have not. That consistent medical care is delivered to consistent high standards is of benefit to patients. Just because it also benefits doctors is not a reason to tear into us. Most of the increase in GP pay in recent years has come from the extra resources that GPs earn if they offer a higher quality of patient care. The outcome from this raised quality is a better standard of health for our patients.

The government propaganda that GPs are monsters who have stolen money from the NHS is very wearing. Now they are unable to say that we are rubbish because the quality and outcomes have proven we are not, so they go and call us thieves instead.

Dr Laurence Buckman is aGP and is the chair of theBMA's GP Committee

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nicola Sturgeon could have considerable influence over David Cameron in a hung parliament  

General Election 2015: What if Cameron were to end up in hock to the SNP?

Steve Richards
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before