GPs could take on private work to boost income

It was suggested to GPs attending the recent Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RGCP) family doctor conference that they could earn extra cash by treating private patients on their smartphones.

According to private advice firm Babylon, which paid to advertise their services to attendees at the conference, GPs could earn between £50 and £60 per hour by offering consultation to patients by mobile, increasing their earnings by £90,000 if they work full-time equivalent hours.

However, a spokesman for Babylon said that the extra work would only be likely to be undertaken by GPs who are juggling family and professional commitments, and value the flexibility of the timing. He added that, without this flexibility, many would not work additional sessions to their NHS work.

Meanwhile, separate research has found that the Health Secretary’s promise to increase the number of GPs by 5,000 by 2020 will actually deliver less than half the number needed to fill the workforce deficit.

According to a study conducted by Imperial College, even the ‘most optimistic’ scenario would require an extra 12,000 GPs to fill the gap, which is even higher than the 10,000 predicted by the RGCP.

According to the Department of Health (DH), the recruitment of 10,000 new primary care staff by 2020, including 5,000 new doctors in General Practice, is an ambitious target, which is based on an independent review of primary care services.

A spokesperson added that the DH is working towards this ambition with NHS England and Health Education England to help deliver a safer NHS for patients seven days a week. He also said that the Government is “boosting GP funding by £2.4 billion a year by 2020/21 and taking measures to retain and return GPs to the workforce.”