NHS paid 6million to five doctors over three years for providing 'top-up' services to just one trust
The extra contracts for healthcare services like asthma and baby clinics mean they benefit from commercial salaries on top of their normal payTwo of the GPS also employed their wives to help with their work, with one spouse earning more than 600,000
19:27 GMT, 2 December 2012
Dr Vijay Bathla, pictured in 2002, was paid 809,053 during 2007 to 2010 thanks to a system which encourages GPs to compete with private companies by selling 'top-up' services to the NHS
A new report examining GP pay at the Heart of
Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust (HoB) from 2007 to 2010 has revealed that the NHS paid five GPs almost 6million over the three-year period, according to The Sunday Mercury.
The wealthy doctors were able to boost their salaries thanks to a system which encourages GPs to compete with private companies by selling ‘top-up’ services to the NHS.
This has enabled them to benefit from commercial salaries on top of their normal pay.
There is no suggestion that the five medics have done anything wrong.
Two have also employed their wives to help with their work, with one spouse earning more than 600,000.
The pay packets were reveal in the report
by city-based CW Audit Services, which also claimed the system had no built-in performance measures, and it cost more while providing poorer quality services.
criticised the Trust’s general handling of the contracts, and found some
practices had been given increases in payments but records did not show
The report also found that bonuses were handed over too easily without proof of improvement.
The pay packets have also been criticised by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which campaigns against wasteful public spending.
The group's chief executive, Matthew Sinclair, said: 'Badly negotiated contracts mean we are paying far more than we should at a time when NHS budgets are tight.'
GPs can earn extra cash through by selling 'top-up' services like Personal Medical Services (PMS), Alternative
Provider Medical Services (APMS) and New General Medical Services
The GPs do not have to provide the services themselves, but act more like small businessmen with employees.
The high earners are:
Dr Shiverdorayi Raghavan, who runs the Heathfield Family Centre in Handsworth and is a partner of the Summerfield Group in Winson Green. He topped the list of high-earning HoB GPs, receiving 1,889,960 from 2007 to 2010.He is followed by Dr Inderjit Marok, who is also a partner at the Summerfield Group and runs his own practice, the Rotton Park Medical Centre in Ladywood. Between 2007 and 2010 Dr Marok was paid 1,403,926. His wife, a practice nurse at his Rotton Park surgery, also took home 61,268, which brought the pair’s combined NHS income to 1,465,194.Dr Vijay Bathla, who runs the Soho Health Centre GP & Yellow Fever Travel Centre, was paid 809,053 during 2007 to 2010. His wife also worked as a practice nurse at the centre and was listed as a co-owner. She earned 616,473 during the three years, which resulted in them together earning 1,425,526 from the NHS.Dr Mohamed Walji, who operates the Balsall Heath Health Centre, was paid 856,718 during the period.Dr
Mukesh Sinha, who runs Church Road Surgery in Aston, took home 825,911
through a contract for diabetes, heart disease and menopause
clinics, and child vaccinations.
The three doctors’ salaries are much higher than an average pay for a GP in Britain, which is said to be around 105,000. Many GPs earn less — between 53,000 and 80,000.
Pool Head Manor in Staffordshire, home to Dr Shiverdorayi Raghavan, who earned 1,889,960 in three years
Dr Shiverdorayi Raghavan also runs the Heathfield Family Centre in Handsworth, pictured
Dr Raghavan, aged 61, has PMS and APMS contracts with HoB for his work at the Summerfield Group, which offers a wide range of healthcare services including asthma and baby clinics, travel immunisations and mental health counselling.
He studied medicine at Southampton University and graduated in the same year as Dr Marok, who is also a partner at the Summerfield Group.
Dr Marok is also a member of HoB’s Professional Executive Committee (PEC), which advises the trust on ways to improve the quality and delivery of health care in their communities.
Dr Bathla’s earnings were boosted
through his PMS contracts at his Soho practice, where he and his wife
offer services such as removal of moles or lesions, blood tests and an
Dr Vijay Bathla runs the Soho Health Centre GP & Yellow Fever Travel Centre. His wife also worked as a practice nurse at the centre and she earned 616,473 during 2007 to 2010
The PMS contracts were introduced in 1998 and were intended to streamline a bureaucratic system.
The auditors worked out the GPs’ incomes based on what earnings they declared to the Trust so that it can determine the contributions it needs to make to their pensions.
The money goes directly to the GPs.
Of the top five earners, Dr Raghavan’s practice came 16th in a quality review that HoB conducted in 73 GP surgeries in 2010.
Dr Sinha came 40th, Dr Bathla 51st, Dr Marok 59th and Dr Walji 63rd.
Dr Inderjit Marok runs his own practice, the Rotton Park Medical Centre in Ladywood, pictured. Between 2007 and 2010 Dr Marok was paid 1,403,926
The top five earners had no Key Performance Indicators, meaning performance could not be accurately measured.
The CW Audit Services report also warned the PMS contracts were poor value for money.
It states: 'Whilst PMS contracts are costing on average 20 more per patient, on balance they are providing no additional (and often less) value in terms of the quality of indicators measured.'
The audit’s final criticism was the high profit margins the doctors enjoyed from the cash they received from HoB.
The report stated: 'The PCT should follow up this analysis with the GPs in question to seek an explanation of the high level of pensionable earnings declared when compared to their gross practice income.'
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, believes badly negotiated contracts mean taxpayers are paying far more than they should at a time when NHS budgets are tight
TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: 'Doctors are rightly well-paid for their important work but taxpayers will baulk at the idea that poor value contracts are making some GPs millionaires at their expense.'
A spokeswoman for Birmingham and Solihull NHS Cluster, which oversees HoB along with three other Trusts, said she would respond on behalf of the GPs after The Sunday Mercury’s attempts to contact them were unsuccessful.
'A number of our GP practices provide services through a mixture of APMS contracts and PMS contracts,' she said.
'APMS contracts are negotiated through a robust competitive process in accordance with national guidelines, and are awarded on the basis that they are the best provider for that service.
'APMS offers substantial opportunities for the restructuring of services to enable greater patient choice, improved access and greater responsiveness to the specific needs of the community.
'It enables us to specifically target areas that have historic under-provision of healthcare services, so that we can improve access.
'PMS contracts are national contracts which follow national regulations.
'We monitor both APMS and PMS contracts to ensure that the criteria are being met. Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust’s Professional Executive Committee’s remit was to advise on clinical needs and services.
'This did not include contracting or GP costs. The PEC’s final meeting was held in June 2011.
'We cannot disclose individual GP income as we would be in breach of the Data Protection Act.'