Declaration of earnings: NHS reinstates one of its most unpopular policies06/12/2022
In late 2021, NHS England issued notice that medical practitioners will be required to publicly declare their relevant earnings – this obligation was for the 2019/20 fiscal year and for anybody having relevant earnings in excess of £150,000, with a deadline for submission in November 2021.
This statement sparked outrage, as it threatened to publicly “out” many medical professionals’ sensitive information. As a result, a number of General Practitioners slashed their hours and gave up partnership positions to keep their income below the threshold. For many, reduced earnings was the lesser of two evils when compared with the prospect of having their name and income shared publicly.
As you are no doubt aware, the obligation to reveal profits was abolished (although slightly after the scheduled submission date!), and it was widely hoped that the rule would not be reinstated. Unfortunately, that hope seems to have been misplaced, and the declaration of earnings has returned.
The rule is nearly identical to the prior notice, and it applies to NHS contractors and subcontractors alike. This means that if you are a) a Partner in a partnership or a sole practitioner, b) an employed GP, or c) a locum GP, and your earnings above a specific level, you must self-declare.
What counts as “relevant earnings”?
The applicable earnings criterion for 2021/22 is £156,000 (rising to £159,000 for 2022/23) – a 4% rise over the previous 2019/20 barrier. Relevant earnings are essentially pensionable earnings.
Because of the nature of the profits assessed by this threshold, you may not be affected and, as a result, do not need to report. To surpass the criteria, for example, a Partnership profit share (the amount you see in the accounts) would need to be around £188,000 – this is assuming that 5% of Partnership income is non-NHS related. Obviously, this means that the majority of GPs will be exempt from making a declaration (especially those who do not work full time) – however, some will still be required to make a declaration.
When is the Deadline?
In the future, the reporting date will be the 30 April after the conclusion of the fiscal year (being a 31 March year). For example, the date for filing for a 31 March 2022 year-end is 30 April 2023. This makes sense, as many practitioner GPs’ annual pension certificate indicating pensionable earnings for that year is required by 28 February following the 31 March financial year. Those who do not have March year-ends will have their accounts year-end that finishes before March 31 due at the same time. For example, a year-end of 30 September 2021 would still necessitate profits disclosure by 30 April 2023. (28 February 2023 for their pension certificate).
This is definitely not welcome news, and one has to wonder if General Practice needs the additional stress, pressure and bureaucracy. It remains to be seen how the BMA will react.
If you have concerns about the declaration of earnings and whether or not you will be affected by it, contact JW Hinks on 0121 456 0190. Our friendly and professional team can help to ensure you are meeting your obligations without incurring any unneeded penalties.