One Response to “BMJ – Pensions – all the rage”

  1. steve January 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Hi Margaret,
    In case you haven’t seen it here is my response to dr Scurr, posted as a blog on Doc2Doc:

    Dough balls – The UK Daily Mail newspaper is notorious for its somewhat disingenuous reporting and reactionary rants. So perhaps the headline “As a GP, I am disgusted my greedy colleagues are threatening to strike” should come as no surprise

    This article was written by Martin Scurr, a Daily Mail columnist. But Dr Scurr is also a GP – in the private Portobello Clinc in London, which he started in the 1970s.

    There he and his colleagues charge an annual membership fee of £300 for adults and £150 for children. They then charge between £130 (members) and £170 (non-members) for an adult consultation and between £130 and £135 for a child. A house visit will set you back at least £180 during the day and if you are not a member you won’t get one.
    If you fail to attend for your appointment or cancel at less than 24 hours notice you still forfeit the full cost of the consultation.
    I work in an NHS practice of 5400 patients. We provide over 20,000 appointments a year. Our turnover is about £1million per year but out of that we pay 3 full-time nurses, a full-time manager, a phlebotomist, a medical secretary, 5 reception staff and a cleaner. We also pay for all of the up keep and maintenance of the building as the NHS will only reimburse the rental costs. Only after all these expenses have been paid do we then pay ourselves our share of the profit. No GP in the practice makes £100,000 a year and, in general, Scottish GPs earn 20% less than their English colleagues.
    So how much does a consultation cost in our practice? Nothing to the patient and about £50 to the NHS (i.e. about a third of that charged by Dr Scurr and his colleagues). What about a house visit? The same – nothing to the patient and about £50 to the NHS. And what if you cancel or miss your appointment? There is no charge for that.
    But what if you are not registered with us? It doesn’t matter – if you are in our practice area, even as a temporary resident, and you are an EU citizen or a citizen of another country with which the UK has reciprocal healthcare agreements, you will get a consultation or house visit free of charge.
    And what would be the equivalent of an annual membership fee for our practice if we had one? Well, nothing actually as the £50 per consultation covers it all. The annual cost to the NHS of our practice providing full, high-quality primary care to our patients is less than £200 per patient per year. For this you get a practice which has been a training practice for 35 years and which holds a Quality Practice Award from the Royal College of General Practitioners.
    So just exactly who is being greedy here?