This morning we've got the NAO drains up on that GPs pay deal. We've blogged it many times of course (see collection gathered here), and we'll be doing a proper post on this report later. Meanwhile, here's the NAO's own overview:
"The contract has cost the Department £1.76 billion more than it originally budgeted for. In the first two years of the contract, productivity has fallen by an average of 2.5 per cent per year. GPs are working on average seven hours less per week than in 1992, partly because of the removal of the responsibility for out of hours care. While the number of consultations with patients has increased, these are not in proportion with the increase in costs.
The largest overspend of the contract was due to an underestimation of the amount that GPs would earn from the pay for performance scheme, the Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF). While there is evidence that the QOF has improved consistency in the quality of care, it is too early to say if overall patients’ health has improved as a result.
In 2005-06 the annual average pay of a GP partner was £113,614, an increase of 58 per cent since 2002-03. GPs report, however, that over the last year their pay has stayed the same or decreased. GP partners have taken more profit from the practice as pay while the average salary for GPs they employ increased by only three per cent in the first two years."
From a taxpayers' perspective, this is an unmitigated disaster. And it once again underlines just why Whitehall cannot be trusted to get value for all the money they take from us.
But to reiterate what we've said before, the culprits are the commissars. If you were a GP partner, and some idiot offered you a pay deal beyond your wildest dreams, you'd take it too.
Oh yes you would.