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GPC urges GPs to fund staff rises

The GPC is advising GPs to go beyond the public sector pay recommendations and award practice staff a 2.5 per cent rise from April funded from their own pockets.

Under this year's public sector pay award, nurses employed by the NHS will get 1.5 per cent in April and 1 per cent in November – around 1.9 per cent over the year.

The exception is Scotland where nurses will get the full 2.5 per cent from April.Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said although the same review awarded GPs a zero per cent pay increase, practices should follow Scotland's approach for their staff.

'We are encouraging practices to absolutely ensure staff are appropriately rewarded for the work they do,' he said.

'Unlike what the Government did, which is to stage awards for staff, GPs should show how much they value their staff by not doing so.'

Dr Charles Simenoff, GPC member and a GP in Manchester, agreed.'I don't think there's any option but to give them the rise. Just because the Government has shafted us doesn't mean we should shaft our staff.'

Dr Dean Marshall, GPC Scotland chair, admitted that the rise would put 'huge pressure' on practices.'In our view it's in the best interests of GPs to properly remunerate their staff. The reality is, it's market forces. If you don't look after the staff they're going to go somewhere else.'

Dr Marshall said that as GPs had had their own pay frozen they would effectively be taking a double pay cut.'They should look at the bottom line on every single thing they do. But ultimately it comes out of their own pockets because GPs take the profits.'

Karen Didovich, senior employment relations adviser with the Royal College of Nursing, advised practices to give the pay award in full from April because, as practice nurses were generally older than other nurses, recruitment was an issue.'Nurses are increasingly prepared to move,' she warned.

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