General practice pay transparency

Background

The Government has amended the NHS (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations 2015 (the “GMS Regulations”) and the NHS (Personal Medical Services Agreements) Regulations 2015 (the “PMS Regulations”) from 1 October 2021 to require a contract with an individual medical practitioner or a partnership to contain a term requiring the contractor to make a self-declaration to NHS Digital if their NHS earnings exceed the threshold for the relevant year (as well as a term requiring this self-declaration requirement to flow down into any clinical subcontracts). These changes are also reflected in an amendment to the APMS Directions 2020.

The intention to increase pay transparency in general practice as a corollary of major investment into the GP Contract, and to safeguard public trust in the GP partnership model was published in Investment and Evolution – a five-year framework for GP contract reform to implement The NHS Long Term Plan. Further details were subsequently published in Update to the GP contract agreement 2020/21-2023/24.

Individuals required to self-declare their NHS earnings

The following individuals will be required to make a self-declaration on an annual basis if their NHS earnings exceed the threshold for the relevant year. This requirement will begin for 2019-20 NHS earnings and individuals who have NHS earnings of over £150,000 in 2019-20 will be required to self-declare.

A contractor who is an individual medical practitioner or each member in a partnership

The contractual change requires a contractor who is an individual medical practitioner, or each member of a contractor who is a partnership holding a GMS contract, to make a self-declaration if they exceed the threshold for that year for each financial year they are a contractor. Where contractors hold a PMS Agreement, all named parties to the contract are subject to the obligation if they exceed the threshold for that year for each financial year they are a contractor. The contractual change also requires an individual, or each member of a contractor who is a partnership holding a APMS contract, to make a self-declaration if they exceed the threshold for that year for each financial year they are a contractor.

A sub-contractor who is an individual or each member of a partnership

Any new sub-contracts for clinical services entered into by the contactor must require a sub-contractor who is an individual, or each member of a sub-contractor who is a partnership, to make a self-declaration if they exceed the threshold for that year for each financial year they are a sub-contractor.

In cases where the sub-contractor enters into a new sub-contract of any of the clinical services it has agreed with the contractor to provide under the sub-contract (where permitted by paragraph 44(9A) of Schedule 3 of The National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations 2015 and by paragraph 43(4A) of Schedule 2 of The National Health Service (Personal Medical Services Agreements) Regulations 2015), it must require the sub-contractor (whether the onward sub-contract is with an individual or each member of a sub-contractor who is a partnership) to make a self-declaration if their individual NHS earnings exceed the relevant threshold for that year.

The requirement for contractors to ensure that any relevant sub-contract includes the pay transparency self-declaration requirement applies to both existing and future sub-contracting arrangements.  Contractors are required to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that any existing relevant sub-contracts are amended to reflect the contractual requirement.

Sub-contractors are not required to comply with the pay transparency self-declaration requirement for any relevant financial year which either ends before the individual enters in to the sub-contract (with the contractor or sub-contractor) or begins after the individual’s sub-contract (with the contractor or sub-contractor) has terminated.

For the purposes of the general practice pay transparency, “sub-contractor” means a person to whom any rights or duties under the contract in relation to clinical matters are, or have been, sub-contracted (under paragraph 44(1) of Schedule 3 of the GMS Regulations or paragraph 43(1) of Schedule 2 of the PMS Regulations).  This includes an individual who is a locum practitioner and who is engaged under a contract for services by the contractor to deputise or temporarily assist in the provision of services. This does not include locums who are not in a direct contract with the contractor or sub-contractor (i.e.- locums engaged via a third party).

Information to be collected via self-declaration

Individuals who are in scope are required to confirm their name and job title and to declare the following information:

  • their NHS earnings for the relevant year
  • the organisation(s) from which the NHS earnings were drawn.

In order to help reduce the burden for individuals who are required to make the general practice pay transparency self-declaration, the definition of NHS earnings for the purposes of pay transparency mirrors the definition of practitioner income in Schedule 10 to the NHS Pension Regulations 2015 plus any income from any NHS salaried position which they hold.

Further information on the definition of NHS earnings for the purpose general practice pay transparency is included in the general practice pay transparency guidance.

How the information collected via the self-declaration will be used

The information self-declared to NHS Digital will be published in a national publication by NHS Digital on an annual basis. The following information will be published for each individual making the self-declaration for 2019/20 NHS earnings.

  • name
  • job title
  • their NHS earnings in earnings bands
  • the name of the organisation from which they drew the greatest proportion of their NHS earnings plus the number of other organisations from which NHS earnings were drawn from in the relevant year.

NHS England and NHS Digital – joint data controllers

NHS England and NHS Digital will be joint data controllers for the general practice pay transparency data collection and will operate under a joint data controller agreement which sets out the roles and responsibilities under Article 26 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).

NHS England has directed NHS Digital to collect and publish the general practice pay transparency data under section 254 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which states that ‘The Secretary of State or the Board may direct the Information Centre to establish and operate a system for the collection or analysis of information of a description specified in the direction’.

NHS England has this Statutory Function as part of its duty to provide primary medical services and its power to obtain and analyse data.

Further information on the directions given to NHS Digital by NHS England can be found on the NHS Digital website.

Categories of recipients / keeping your personal information

The information submitted to NHS Digital by individuals through the self-declaration process will be kept by NHS Digital for a period of 8 years.  The information collected will be published by NHS Digital in a national publication on an annual basis and will then be in the public domain and may be included in NHS Digital reports for a period exceeding 8 years.

Legal basis for processing

NHS England’s lawful basis for processing personal data for the purpose of the general practice pay transparency is the following articles under UK GDPR:

  • Article 6(1)(b) – ‘processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract’.

NHS Digital as a joint data controller

NHS Digital (also known as The Health and Care Information Centre) is a joint data controller with NHS England for the general practice pay transparency data collection.  NHS Digital is the contact point for Data Subjects referred to in the Transparency Notice in relation to any processing of personal data through the provision of the Directed Activity and enquiries should be directed to the contact details below.

enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk

NHS Digital, 7 & 8 Wellington Place, Leeds LS1 4AP

ICO Registration No: Z8959110

https://ico.org.uk/ESDWebPages/Entry/Z8959110

Contact details for the NHS Digital Data Protection Officer

If you have any queries about this privacy notice or about how NHS Digital process personal data please contact the data protection officer at the address below.

Kevin Willis – Data Protection Officer

Email: nhsdigital.dpo@nhs.net

Post: DPO and Compliance
Privacy, Transparency & Ethics
NHS Digital,
HM, Government
7 & 8 Wellington Place,
Leeds
LS1 4AP