The Cameron Fund
The Cameron Fund is the medical profession’s only charity providing help and support solely to General Practitioners and their dependent family, who find themselves living in financial hardship or distress.
Set up in 1970, the Fund is named in memory of Sir James Cameron – a distinguished GP who led the profession at the time of the pivotal Charter for Family Doctor Services in 1966. Since then, the Fund has distributed over £5million in grants and interest-free loans. In 2020 the Fund provided much needed assistance to 207 GPs or their dependent family, which included 49 beneficiaries who were directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of you might feel that the Cameron Fund is not needed in the current world of pension schemes, insurances and state benefits. In reality our experience is that in cases such as unexpected serious illness, suspension or bereavement of a GP colleague, there is often inadequate or no provision available for financial relief and real hardship can occur. Originally the majority of applicants were elderly GPs or widows – today over 50% of applications are from working age GPs.
We at the LMCs comprising Wessex refer GP colleagues or their dependents with such problems to the Cameron Fund each year, and the Fund has often been of great help to our colleagues at a very stressful time. Frankly, some of the problems – notably physical or mental ill-health – could happen to any of us, and none of us could say we might not need help from this source if such distressing circumstances were to happen to us.
In order to continue to help GPs and their families who face such hardship, the Fund needs to supplement its investment income. Broadly half the income each year comes from donations from Local Medical Committees and individual GPs. Several years ago, Wessex LMCs set up a Cameron Fund Charity Levy to help those Practices that wished to do so to support the Cameron Fund with an annual donation. This was supported by about 1,000 GPs in Wessex, and the funds generated by the levy have made a very substantial contribution to the work of the Fund in helping GP colleagues and their dependents who have fallen on hard times. The Trustees are very grateful for your help.
As the levy is deducted at source it effectively attracts 40% tax relief in a similar way to the Statutory and GPC National Levies. For simplicity we have set out a suggested rate for this levy, although there would be nothing to stop practices deciding on their own rate of deduction. With an average individual list size of about 1,800 patients, a deduction of 3p per patient per year would raise £54 per year from each practitioner, but the net cost after tax relief to the partner would only be £32.40 p.a. You may, of course amend the levy suggestion of 3p per patient (up or down!). Please note that this must be a practice decision, as the payment organisation cannot apply this levy to individual GPs. Of course, you may allocate this deduction internally between partners in any way that you wish, which could allow some partners to contribute with others preferring not to do so. The Levy will be deducted at source from the practice income usually each November as per the Charity-Levy-Mandate-Form-2016
As such a levy is deducted from practice income, of course only partners receiving a share of profits will be contributing. Your salaried colleagues or locums might also wish to show their support by making a personal donation and can do so via the website www.cameronfund.org.uk . They would be equally eligible to benefit from the help offered by the Fund (which accepts applications from any GP or retired GP who has worked for the majority of their career in NHS General Practice, as well as GP trainees, and dependents of such GP colleagues).
If you know of colleagues who could benefit from the Fund’s assistance, please let us know (with consent of course) or direct them to the Fund’s website www.cameronfund.org.uk for all the contact details, and where an application form can be downloaded.”
Dr Will Howard, Medical Director at Wessex LMCS, talks with Vernon Needham, trustee of the Cameron Fund.
Vernon explains everything you need to know about the Cameron Fund including:
- Who the charity can benefit and examples of how
- How the charity is funded
- The application process
- Timescales for the application process
- 10 Top Tips for Financial Wellbeing
Find out more at:
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