Commenting on the news today that GPs are earning up to £250,000, The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:
'Family doctors have responded to incentives in the new contract which means that many will be delivering better care to patients. Undoubtedly some doctors were already delivering these services and it is clear that the government underestimated the extent to which GPs would meet the targets set in the contract - meaning that the deal has cost much more than expected.
'There has been a downside for patients as many GPs are no longer responsible for providing out-of-hours cover or opening their surgeries at the weekend. However it is too early to tell whether productivity has increased overall as a result of the contract.
'Some entrepreneurial doctors may be earning up to £250,000, but this is likely to be rare. In any event, how much a GP earns is not necessarily the most important issue. What matters is whether or not patients are getting value for money.
'The system now is better than we've had in the past and as the incentives are developed we should be able to encourage GPs to deliver even better care to patients. But the big problem for now is that the cost has been underestimated and that is contributing to the financial problems the NHS is now facing.'
Notes to editors:
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