At the start of a three-part series on the future of the NHS, the Guardian commissioned Kieran Walshe, professor of health policy and management at Manchester Business School and an adviser to the Commons health select committee, to examine how GPs could profit from the reforms. His work shows GPs could more than double their average pay of £105,000 to £300,000 a year as a direct result of the reforms. At present fewer than 3% of GPs earn more than £200,000 – but Walshe suggests such salaries could become the norm.
According to Walshe, the most lucrative ventures would see GPs setting up private companies that would turn underspends in their annual budget – in effect, savings on patient spending – into profits. He calculates that individual GPs could net more than £140,000 a year in extra income by saving 5% in commissioning costs. Another £55,000 of income each would come from taking on the responsibility of managing their local population's needs.
So as long as the services they buy for their patients are cheaper than the associated NHS cost, assuming they shop around for it of course, and the government, the ones with the (our) money bags, are saving some money and splitting it with the successful GPs we, the patient, get:
- Cheaper services.
- Faster services.
- Greater control over how the money is spent (no commissars, no health tsars, just you and the GP you choose to use).
Who cares how much the GP earns? There pay will better reflect there ability to organise the individual healthcare needs of their patients, who are entitled to take themselves and their funding elsewhere; civic-minded GP consortia will no doubt set up non-profit groups to appeal directly to this subset of malcontents; followers of the politics of envy.
Personally I reckon an (unintended?) consequence of this will be to encourage preventative measures becoming more prevalent; in general preventative treatments - drugs, lifestyle changes, early identification - is cheaper and more effective than fixative measures - heart surgery, chemotherapy etc.
We shall see - In short I would rather have a medically trained individual I know well choose my providers than some civil disservant in the Department of Sickness.