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GPs work harder than ever to win the wooden spoon

Well, it's all over. The evenings capivated by the UK doing something so successfully are gone for the next four years.

As an armchair cynic, I have happily eaten my words and regret that I will never attend an Olympics or Paralympics in my home city. The medals table provided an inspirational measure of the athlete’s achievement, and of course there were promises and commitments made before the games predicting where Team GB would finish.

In my world of medical finance we too have league tables. Whenever we visit a client we bring with us a league table ranking the practice in a table of up to 500 other practices. The measure (I suppose the gold medal) is the profits per full-time partner. The table also states the average profits, and looks at 10-plus key analytical ratios to see why a practice is placed where it is. Is it because the list size is too low, are they spending too much on staff, is their global sum income too low from some historical incident?

I would not suggest that the Ramsay Brown league table engenders anything like the interest in the Games, but I do see the glaze drop from the eyes after an hour or so of wandering through profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and capital accounts.

The league table provides plenty of useful information, and what remains consistent is the steady decline across the board in GPs earnings. In fact the decline is less dramatic than you might expect, but only because principals are working harder than ever before. It’s an interesting paradox that our Olympic athletes work incredibly hard and are rewarded with gold medals, while GPs work harder than ever and get the proverbial wooden spoon – and no thanks as well.

Perhaps it is time to recruit Boris to the cause….

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