Many people assume that doctors are traditional salaried employees and therefore cannot reasonably be defined as contractors. However, this is not necessarily the case. While the majority of hospital consultants and non-principal GPs (General Practitioners) – like those employed under CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) – receive salaries in the conventional sense, since the inception of the NHS in 1948, principals and partners in General Practices operate effectively as independent contractors. Their pay is primarily determined by their ‘performance’ with the controversial ‘Quality and Outcomes Framework’ (QOF).
Calculating GP’s pay can get you into alphabet soup
The performance of GPs, in this context, is operationalised through various factors; the number of patients treated, the type of treatments that were administered, and the overall health of their respective catchment areas are all taken into consideration by the QOF. Pay is subsequently calculated through various IT systems associated with the aforementioned framework; namely, the Quality Management and Analysis System (QMAS), or the newer Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS).
Locums and self-employment
Locum doctors – those who are temporarily assigned to replace absentee staff throughout various hospitals and practices – are also technically regarded as self-employed, and will be designated accordingly by mortgage lenders.
Naturally, the self-employed status of these specific doctors has implications on almost every aspect of their financial life, including mortgages. It is important to note that lenders, in general, are inclined to look at doctors favourably – as it is regarded as a solid and stable profession – and therefore doctors are typically accommodated without any additional fuss. However, sometimes the self-employed nature of certain roles means that doctors do not always receive the best offers.
Keep your paperwork
Keeping a thorough record of payments and all relevant paperwork (such as contracts and evidence of employment) is absolutely essential, especially if you are a newly qualified doctor.