GP’s are being offered up to £188 an hour in a bid to get them to work over the Christmas period to deal with the influx of sick patients, and will be paid extra money for every swine flu jab they administer.
Flu figures have reached a ten-year high this winter, particularly in places such as Leicester. As a result, up to four practices in the city will open on Christmas Day, two on Boxing Day and seven on Bank Holiday Monday. They will open for three to four hours in the morning, and only treat registered patients. Of course, nobody wants to work at Christmas so big financial incentives are being offered.
The majority of practices will be paid £188 an hour by the Primary Care Trust, but as only one doctor will be working at any given time, he or she will be able to take home the full pay.
Critics say the extortionate hourly rate will be a ‘costly mistake’ for the economy. This may be true, given the fact that the average GP now earns more than £106,000 a year under the GP contract negotiated by the former Labour government.
Last Christmas, it emerged that family doctors would be paid an extra £5.25 for every swine flu jab they gave to a patient. Another deal which critics described as ‘extortionate’.
Charlotte Linacre, from TaxPayers’ Alliance, says: ‘This is another reminder of what an expensive mistake the new GP contract was that saw us paying more and getting a reduced out-of-hours service. There has been a huge increase in spending on the NHS in recent years, politicians need to control those costs more effectively.’