- Posted Tuesday January 21, 2014
So practice income is to be published from this summer? What a revelation. I still think there is nothing new on this planet. Whatever happened to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, around for donkeys years now, and the rather controversial requirement that not only do practices have to have a “publication scheme” but they also have to make available details of practice income. What’s that? Oh yes I remember now. If I want to bore myself rigid by looking at my GPs flu jab income I can do with a FoI request. To be frank, I have better things to do with a few of my hours, especially at my age.
In essence, anyone who wants to know can do so already. Few patients will be bothered, and they have access now, and they will not be very interested in looking at practices other than their own anyway. Basically it’s for journalists and specialist media, and who cares about them? Personally, I think the public would be more interested in MPs pay, perks, pensions, expenses, directorships, retainer fees, and jollies to far-flung corners on fact-finding trips. Did I read somewhere that the NHS “brand” might be off to China? Great, another jolly on the taxpayer then. Far better to get it right in the UK first maybe? If I were China, I would grow my own system.
I digress again. There seems to be an ongoing ability for everyone except those who actually work in a GP practice to mix up practice income and GP income. It’s high time that people start referring to “practice funding” as a clear entity and publish (if they must) those meaningless figures in context under that clear banner. Perhaps the public would be shocked to know how little practice actually get per patient head. You can bet that the presentation of the figures will be geared towards political motives.
If they want to go ahead and start publishing “GP pay” this is a separate issue and must be stated as such, with clear explanations. Snag is, the publishers just don’t care. GP pay presumably would be taken from the annual superannuation returns, and so would be at least a year or two out of date when published anyway.
I like this statement from the NHS: “‘Subject to discussions with the profession NHS England plans to publish audited financial data on payments made to GP practices for the 2013/14 financial year in the summer.’ Ha. Given their current performance it is unlikely that payment due to practices for the end of that year would have been made by then anyway! What will they do about “timing differences?” Perhaps they should look to get their internal issues resolved first, especially in the latest fiasco where practices with issues have been told “not to ring the NHS”, and to try and support each other. I think the NHS should concentrate on its current failures before inflicting more change.