Doctors who are paid more than £150,000 per year by the NHS will be publicly named from 2020, officials have revealed.
The average annual income for a GP in Britain is £92,500 but many – usually partners who run their own surgeries – earn far more.
Highly-paid doctors will have to reveal their earnings under a new five-year GP contract drawn up by the NHS and the British Medical Association.
The contract announced a £405million funding boost for family doctors in 2019-20 and, controversially, plans to have patients see pharmacists, physiotherapists and paramedics instead of doctors.
Doctors earning more than £150,000 per year will be named on an official list in a bid to improve the transparency of NHS earnings
Officials hope the financial move will increase transparency around how much GPs draw down from the NHS.
A new system will have to be put in place to identify high-earning doctors but it is not yet clear how this will be done.
NHS doctors already have to publish their average earnings on the practices’ own websites so patients can see them, following legislation in 2016.
But those earning more than the Prime Minister – whose salary is around £150,000 – will now be listed on a national database.
‘We have recognised that there is increasingly a call for transparency to be put in place,’ Richard Vautrey, the British Medical Association’s GP committee chair, told the magazine Pulse.
‘[NHS managers] have their pay published in a public way.
‘So we accept GPs who earn more than £150,000 from NHS earnings, for their pay to be published from 2020.
‘Linked to this, NHS England and the Government are going to be exploring similar arrangements for other NHS contractors.’
The move follows a similar rule at the BBC, where the company recently started listing which of its employees make more than £150,000.
Another proposal in the GP plan suggests pharmacists, physios and paramedics could be called in to treat patients to relieve pressure on doctors.
The NHS will recruit 22,000 ‘physician associates’ to carry out consultations at family surgeries in place of doctors, it said.
They will attend to patients with minor conditions to free up GPs to treat more serious illnesses.
Part of a new, five-year contract for family doctors, the reforms are seen as the biggest shake-up for the profession since 2004.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘This five-year deal unarguably represents the biggest boost to primary care in more than 15 years, giving patients more convenient services at their local GP surgery while breaking down the divide between family doctors and community health services.
‘It provides the practical foundation for the big service improvements in the NHS long-term plan.
‘Patients across England – in towns, villages and cities – will all begin to see the benefits, beginning this year.’
Doctors’ leaders are broadly happy with the plans but have stressed the need to recruit more GPs.
Dr Richard Vautrey added: ‘We are confident these widespread changes will deliver the best not just for GPs across England, but also for the patients they treat on a daily basis.
‘Last month, the Government announced its long-term plan for the Health Service, and our negotiations with NHS England were key to shaping this vision for general practice.
‘Recent years have seen hard-working family doctors deal with an overstretched workforce doing their best to meet rising demand from patients suffering more and more complex conditions, all on the back of a decade of underinvestment.’
MORE THAN 700 GP SURGERIES COULD CLOSE BY 2023
More than 2.5 million patients across England could see their GP surgeries close in the next five years, experts revealed in November.
The Royal College of General Practitioners said 762 practices in the UK are at risk of closing within the next five years because at least three quarters of their doctors are aged 55 or over and approaching retirement.
Experts said so many closures would have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on the health service.
Appointment waiting times could get even longer, workloads would grow and more people could end up queueing at A&E for minor illnesses.
Campaigners warned the potential closures would be ‘dangerous’ for patients and are calling for ‘drastic action’ to encourage new GPs to join the profession.
The situation is worst in Southend in Essex, where 13 of the area’s 35 GP practices are at risk of closing, potentially affecting nearly 39,000 patients.
A third of surgeries in the London borough of Havering could shut down, and more than 85,000 patients could lose their GP in Sandwell and West Birmingham.
Only around a quarter of areas of England have no practices at risk of closure, according to the RCGP’s estimates.
Figures from the Royal College of General Practitioners have revealed 762 GP practices across the UK are at risk of closing in the next five years (Map shows the proportion of surgeries in each area which are at risk of closing)