The BMA has said it has requested a ‘further suspension’ of the requirement for GPs to declare income above £150,000, which is currently due to launch in April.
Costanza Potter www.pulsetoday.co.uk
The requirement was originally delayed due to the pandemic and then again in November and April this year, when GPs faced the first and second deadlines to submit declarations.
As it stands, the pay transparency regulations will come into force in April 2023 – but the BMA has said it is pushing for a further delay.
Its latest GP Committee bulletin said: ‘Currently, the individuals in scope of the regulations introduced in October 2021 will need to make a declaration of their 2021/2022 earnings in April 2023 as the provision remains in the GP contract.
‘Individuals within scope of the pay transparency provisions are not required to take any action in relation to their 2020/21 NHS earnings at this stage.’
It added: ‘We continue to request further suspension of the requirement to declare earnings as we believe this is harmful to morale in the profession and could lead colleagues to reduce their working commitments or retire.
‘We also believe that it is inequitable to single out general practice for this requirement.’
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson told Pulse that ‘further information on the implementation of pay transparency in general practice will be made in due course’.
What are the GP pay declaration requirements?
Under regulations published in September, GPs and their staff with NHS earnings above £150,000 are required to declare them annually.
The 2020 updated GP contract revealed that GPs who earn more than £150,000 per year in pensionable income – including partners, salaried GPs and locums – will be ‘listed by name and earnings bands’ publicly.
But the BMA confirmed in November that salaried GPs were not covered by the requirement to declare earnings above the threshold.
It also said that it was ‘unclear’ how NHS England would ‘police’ declarations and that any evidence sourced for monitoring via ‘illegitimate means’ will be ‘open to legal challenge’.
GPs were told they would have to submit self-declarations annually, starting with income for 2019/20 by 12 November 2021 and then make declarations by 30th April for every subsequent financial year.
The threshold will rise to £153,000 for the financial year 2020/21, £156,000 for 2021/22, £159,000 for 2022/23 and £163,000 for 2023/24.
And GP leaders had previously argued that this is an attempt to name and shame GPs. They pointed out that it does not reflect the hours they work, and warned it could fuel anti-GP sentiment among the public who believe family doctors are paid too much.
The legislation, which came into force on 1 October 2021, was first announced in 2019 as part of the five-year GP contract.
But GPs have been required to publish average individual net earnings on their practice website since 2016/17, following a previous move to increase transparency on earnings.