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Health, housing and adult social services

GPs want their cake and eat it

Dr-Maureen-Baker_cdp-20131009123916836Today sees the start of the Royal College of GP’s annual conference and is marked by a media blitz by their chairman Maureen Baker. Again and again Baker overstates her case.

Baker is seeking a 37.5% increase in resources for GPs. Sure we would all like someone to wave a magic wand and push a lot more cash at us. It is an outrageous demand.

The latest piece of evidence Baker is using is a bogus piece of research that suggests over 500 GPs practices will close as their doctors are over 60.

In making her case Baker undoes herself. Her own press release says: “the average retirement age of GPs is 59”. Wait a minute. Why are GPs retiring so early? Has she no self-awareness? Do the GPs really think they can opt out of working life, after such a long and expensive education largely paid for by the state, after such a short working life?

One of the things that really confuses me about the NHS is that GPs manage to remain as private contractors but also enjoy a state provided defined benefit pension scheme. I can only imagine that this pension is way too generous if doctors are checking out so early. In the interests of public debate and seeing that Baker raised the issue perhaps the RCGP could publish details of the GP’s pension scheme?

Of course local multi-millionaire GP Onkar Sahota is backing Baker’s campaign. If so few medical students want to go into general practice maybe Baker should send Sahota to medical schools to explain to young doctors how they too can make their fortunes out of being private operators within the NHS.