With GP practice funding falling, locum cover makes more sense than ever...

So – you’re a GP and you’re overpaid. Right?

That’s what the general public believes: that GPs are better off than ever. However we know that NHS funding for GP practices is falling, so what’s the best way to use diminishing practice resources?

Just last week The Telegraph reported that GPs in industrialised countries are among the best paid workers in the world, when it carried the new figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. These revealed that the gulf between earnings of family doctors and those of the average worker is greatest in the UK, where GPs are paid 3.4 times average earnings. It also found that on average family doctors earn more than hospital specialists.

Naturally, as a consequence, the public believes that GPs are far from underfunded, and that practices are immune from the kind of financial squeeze that the rest of the country has been suffering for some time.

In fact, GP practice funding is now at the lowest rate ever recorded – at a total of 8.4% of the total NHS budget. A recent study by the RCGP and the National Association for Patient Participation showed that the figure has fallen by 2% since 2004/5 and they’re launching a campaign to get the figure up to 11% by 2017.

So, with budgets in reality being squeezed, it makes more sense than ever to arrange locum cover insurance before someone goes off sick.

Without locum insurance, if any of your practice’s GPs is unwell you could find yourself paying £600 a day (or more while locum costs continue to rise) in order to cover for them. However, with locum insurance from Practice Cover, a tax deductible premium of as little as £1,300 a year will pay out £2,500 a week (following a 4 deferment period) for up to 52 weeks.

It makes sense to think ahead to cover your staff rather than spending more when the inevitable happens. You don’t have to spend the money we pay out on a locum either – you’re free to spend it on whatever you need to keep your practice running smoothly.

The opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author on behalf of Practice Cover Limited and they do not constitute individual advice.

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