Salary plan unpopular

Independent Doctors Federation (IDF) annual general meeting

Salaried consultant jobs in private practice are in the offing from at least two hospital groups, as Independent Practitioner Today has previously reported, but they don’t look like attracting IDF members.

Dr Brian O'ConnorPresident Dr Brian O’Connor (right) asked for a show of hands at the AGM from anyone who would contemplate the idea.

Only one consultant put his hand up, and then explained to quizical colleagues: ‘I’d contemplate it – but would then reject it.’

The straw poll came after Mark Rainey, director of Phy­sician Services at HCA Healthcare UK, gave observations on the London market and outlined physician employment by his firm in the US.

He highlighted ten reasons why consultants might favour employment: practice management demands, economic pressures, tech­nology and IT investments, work/life balance, focus on quality and pay-for-performance, physician shortages, insurers’ financial pressures, succession planning, indemnity insurance and growth of hospital-based physician programmes.

 The Private Healthcare Inform­ation Network (PHIN) is charged with publishing fee and outcome information on consultants’ and hospitals – but still has to make some headway in publicising its role to private doctors.

Dr Brian O’Connor, outgoing specialist committee chairman, said he did a straw poll of independent practitioners and people did not know what it stood for.

 Consultant gastroenterologist Dr Sean Preston is the new chairman of the IDF Specialists’ Committee.