1 min read

Editor's blog Tuesday 4 August 2009: Shock horror! Daily Mail discovers that GPs earn money

Whooppeee! That champion of socialist wages policies the Daily Mailhas discovered that GPs can earn a lot of money for working out-of-hours.

Wow. This is investigative journalism of a high order of magnitude ... a mere four years or so after everybody else noticed this one.

Missing links
In all but one case cited, the report is shorn of the essential information whether the sums include or exclude staff wages and other expenses (as we can know damn well that most of these will be single-handed practices).

The one case they have found is of a GP in Norfolk (note to Daily Mail - area of rurality, quite different from Putney) earning £310,000 a year after disbursements. If this one is not a proprietor-owned (post-mortgage, hence no rent), single-handed dispensing practice with high levels of need, let's hear about it.

GPs are much better-paid than they were. They had to be, because nobody was going in to the profession: this is Economics 101, Dacre and Co.

There are real issues about QOF incentives, as recently discussed by Martin Roland and colleagues in the NEJM. Likewise how clinical conditions not in the QOF fare. These are intrinsic problems to targets.

More to the point, variations in clinical practice and outcomes are every bit as much an issue for GPs as for hospital doctors. We just tend not to look at them too closely in all areas.

There are real issues to discuss about general practice in the UK. Issues about why new partnerships are not being created, and about the resultant creation of a rentier elite of GP partners and principals and a 'second-class' salaried GP tier, lacking the famed local and personal knowledge of patients that can lead to good continuity of care.

But it would appear that the politics of envy are an easier sell for the Daily Mail.