Why The UK Has A Shortage Of GPs – Solve It By Cutting GP Pay

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Given that the general practitioner workforce has been planned by government for the past 80 years we shouldn’t be all that surprised that we’ve a shortage of such GPs. It’s also true that every training place for a GP is full, indeed has multiple applicants.

So, government planning, shortage – we’re surprised, right?

Britain’s GPs are among the best paid in the western world, a major report has found.

The international study shows that family doctors now earn more than three times as much as the average employee.

GP partners typically earn more than £115,000 a year for full-time work, with most family doctors opting for part-time hours.

Despite this, the country is facing a growing shortage,

That “despite” there is amusing. Because of course it is that preference for part time working which is causing the shortage. Or rather, exacerbating it. The past generation as seen being a GP become a female majority profession – at least at entry level it is. Nothing wrong with that of course.

Except the sensible planner would have though about this. Women are rather more likely to take a year or two off here and there than men – kiddies. They’re also more likely to go part time for a few years as the kiddies rise up to primary school age.

So our masterful planners of society adjusted for this did they? Did they ‘eck. Which is an excellent example of why we don’t want the masterful planners to be taking care of the details of society for us, isn’t it?

There is also a rather cheeky solution to this. Richard Murphy, formerly Senior Lecturer at Islington Technical College, has told us that the labour response of the female part of the well paid population is dominated by the income effect. For it was indeed he who said that if we raised the income tax rate on the better off then more of the women in those families would work more hours. They have a desired income target to meet and they’ll work until they get there.

He cannot have been joking about this as it was part of the TUC’s submission to the Treasury before the Budget.

Cutting the pay of GPs has, concerning the income effect, the same effect as raising their tax rate. So, to increase the supply of GPs we should cut GP pay. For they have a target income to meet, one that they’ll work to reach and only after that will they think about reducing their labour hours.

So, Murphynomics – solve the GP shortage by cutting GP pay. Must be true, it’s obvious, for it’s Murphynomics.

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jghBloke in GermanyMichael van der RietdjcSpike Recent comment authors
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Spike
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Spike

Docs “earn more than three times as much as the average employee.” Only 3? If your docs have M.D.s, I’d expect a higher differential. No politician or planner can know the right salary, but that contemplates real reform and not just an adjustment. Meanwhile, Professor Murphy (“if you want more of something, set the price lower!) will never get it right.

jgh
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jgh

“Earn” or “are paid”? I’d take issue with the assertion that they earn three times the average employee. It’s clear they’re paid it, but do they earn it? If they earn it, so what, good for them.

But then that’s contradicted by the main article which states that so many doctors are on part time hours, so they don’t actually earn three times the average wage, they probably earn 1.5 times the average wage.

djc
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djc

Or do they get paid three times the average wage while only working part-time?

Bloke in Germany
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Bloke in Germany

M.D. is not such a big thing in the UK as other places. Certainly most people who want to be a GP will not bother with it, or only as a side project when already established. Having one isn’t really an earnings driver, even for specialists in private practice.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

As the prime reason for adult GP visits is to get a sick note for a couple of days off work, I can’t understand why ten years of study is necessary. In my happy country, one can become a traditional healer merely by identifying as one and their sick notes are accepted in law. Many medical schemes will even pay the cost of visiting the sangoma to recover lost love, overcome financial worries and increase manlihood.

jgh
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jgh

Probably more than 90% of my visits to a GP has been because they are the gatekeeper to actual services. I can’t see my ENT without being refered by a GP. I even had to take a photo of my throat to my GP as he was so newly qualified he’d never seen nasopharynx polyps before. Even then, after my operation I was told I had high blood pressure and should monitor it for a while; going to the medical practice it was a nurse who took my pressure, and once she’d confirmed I was using a self-measuring device correctly,… Read more »