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GP pay rises could be targeted at areas with recruitment problems, says DH

Exclusive The Department of Health is considering setting GPs’ pay uplift for 2016/17 according to where they are practising as a way of alleviating the recruitment crisis, it has told Pulse. 

Health minister David Prior wrote to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) today asking it to consider how an average uplift of 1% ‘could be applied to improve recruitment and retention’.

A spokesperson later confirmed to Pulse that this meant they would consult with the DDRB on whether practices’ funding uplift could be dependent on where they were based.

The GPC has criticised the proposals, and called for GPs across the country to be given pay rises of above 1%.

This is the latest attempt by the Government to boost recruitment to under-doctored areas, having devised a £10m ten-point plan to try to solve the GP recruitment problem.

The letter by Mr Prior sets the remit for the DDRB for next year’s funding uplift, and it calls on the review body to look at ways that it can set a 1% ‘average’ pay uplift for GPs.

As part of the process, the DDRB will look at evidence from the BMA and NHS Employers to decide what funding uplift to give to practices that will translate to the 1% pay rise.

The letter said: ‘For general medical practitioners and general dental practitioners, the Government would welcome the views of the DDRB as to how an overall pay uplift of an average of 1% could be applied to improve recruitment and retention.’

Asked whether this meant the DH would consider different uplifts in different geographical areas, a DH spokesperson said it was ‘consulting’ on the measure.

The spokesperson said: ’It’s just one of a number of things we are consulting on in order to determine how areas might be improved.’

The BMA’s evidence warned that GPs were being ‘unfairly punished’ after health secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed that years of underfunding in general practice was a result of ‘penance’ for the 2004 GP contract. 

It said that, as a result, the DDRB should consider giving GPs a higher pay rise that the 1% blanket pay rise offered to public sector workers by chancellor George Osborne.

Attempts at boosting recruitment in certain area have not as yet proved successful.

Pulse revealed that commissioners in Hull have scrapped a scheme offering MBAs to doctors committing to working as salaried GPs in the city after it failed to lead to any post being filled.

Health education bosses are also working on increasing the number of medical graduates going into general practice training via a national recruitment campaign. A third round of recruitment has seen a ‘600%’ increase in applicants compared to last year, however large regional variations remain with some areas half unfilled.

Health Education England (HEE) has identified six local offices experiencing low fill rates of GP trainees, namely Yorkshire; East Midlands; West Midlands; North East; East of England; and HEE Wessex (Isle of Wight only).

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the summer that NHS professionals, including GPs, would see the 1% uplift cap applied over the next four years.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said: ’When MPs received an uplift of 10% to their own pay, an overall uplift of 1% for GPs is not going to do much for recruitment and retention, and the more important issue of practice expenses needs to be fully addressed for GPs to even have a chance of getting the 1% intended. Recent experience has shown a 1% intended rise turning in to a 3% cut because of the government’s failure to properly invest in general practice.

’All areas of the country are struggling to recruit and retain GPs and so all practices and GPs across the country should receive any uplift.’

 

Readers' comments (33)

  • Another sticking plaster. What planet are these people from ?! Strike action NOW!

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  • So how do we all feel about the MPIG being 'rebalanced' now? Not a lot of faith left.

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  • how anybody can think DDRB is independent is beyond me. They are just another extension of the Government screwing all doctors.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Barmy. Severe shortages of GPs in all parts of the country. Try resetting the old "average net intended GP remuneration" from the Red Book to 2006 levels and see the recruitment crisis diminish. Tie our income to that of MPs and see a chink of light in the darkness.
    No? Thought not.

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  • And these people run the country -god help us

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  • Relocate medical schools to areas of need (especially ones that refuse to produce gps) and force them to recruit locally. End of problem.

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  • Of course just like the "guaranteed" Global Sum, it would vanish in a couple of years.
    Follow our junior colleagues and strike, but not the pathetic attempt at a strike we had a few years ago. Time is running out though, as soon nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be there. The window of opportunity is running out though

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  • So a 1% uplift will help solve the recruitment crisis?! What do we pay these "experts" for? I expect they get paid bucket loads for coming up with this rubbish. The consultancy fee probably exceeds the value of proposed uplift. Well I won't charge for advising that this will be as effective as a chocolate fireguard.

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  • That makes a mockery out of profession. Continue exodus.

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  • Hopefully our leaders will grow some balls and do the right thing and finally ballot for a proper strike - after the juniors do it.

    this is ridiculous. along with cqc fees x5-6 and indemnity up by 20%+ last year.

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  • "Health minister David Prior wrote to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) today asking it to consider how an average uplift of 1% ‘could be applied to improve recruitment and retention’"

    This sounds as though he is trying to pressure the DDRB into suggesting that the worst hit areas receive above 1% while everyone else presumably takes another pay cut in order to maintain the average so that he can say he has given extra funding to areas most in need while also claiming doctors have been awarded a 1% rise and aren't they ungrateful.

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  • FOR THE FINAL TIME - I AM NOT MOVING TO HULL!

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  • 1% rise is like giving 1 peanut to camel and expect him to obey master's command. that pea nut is also conditional. after cuts of seniority, mpig money, lost qof money you need to offer 25% minimum to attract gp's.
    GP'S GO ON STRIKE PLEASE. general practice may be vocation it is not a charity.

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  • I have contacted the pension agency today to find out when my pension will be paid when I retire in 2 months(age 58)they told me it be a month before I receive any payment due to the huge backlog caused by Doctors retiring.So Jeremy stick your 1% where the sun doesn't shine good luck with the workforce crisis by the way

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  • Bob Hodges

    "areas with recruitment problems"

    That will be about 99% of England then.

    I hope 'targeted' also means 'not just new GPs and acknowledges that RETENTION is every bit as important as recruitment.

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  • I'm getting confused.
    GP (partners)pay is ((income into practice) - (practice expenses))/partneship share
    So does the 1% intended increase in GP pay (which GPs? All? Salaried? Sessional?) include additional expenses (e.g. CQC recovering full costs, increased idemnity costs? staff? and add-on costs such as NI & pensions?)
    And from the *strategic* point of view, how long before "diferential" distribution of below cost of practice rises leads to un-incentivised areas becoming in need of "incentives"?
    Overseas emigration might be drastic: leaving England might be a better option?

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  • /So 1% is going cure everything This is insulting.

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  • All money will be ploughed into recruitment. Once the government has a surplus in a job they can pay get a cheaper service.
    Basic supply and demand.

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  • We need a decent union.

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  • 1 % is not an uplift . Has no one heard of inflation ? It's a lot more than 1 lousy per cent. But of course nobody can really tell what the actual rate is CPI RPI WTF . What we're discussing is a reduced pay cut in real terms. At least pensions have some link with a measure of inflation . For now .

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  • It's not the muckin funny . The job is impossible . That's why nobody wants to do it . The only sensible response is to bail out .

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  • Only when politicians feel their majorities slipping away will anything be done . Many doctors are struggling to keep things going with a dwindling resource base . Just relax and let things slide in marginal constituencies .

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  • Whoopee they're going to reduce our pay cut this year.

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  • So, they are not really talking about 1% uplift.

    They are really talking about how NOT to give 1% uplift to rest of the country where they deem not to have recruitment problem.

    Another pay cut for most of us again then

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  • I am confused. I thought recruitment problem is nation wise. I have not known any region that has surplus GPs

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  • I've just found this:- 'Applicants are reminded that entry to GP specialty training is highly competitive' in this:- Applicant Guidance {Round 1} for August 2016.

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  • The Duffers' Board is going to give an uplift if you have one GP for 1500 patients but can't find the fifth partner. However, if you have one GP for 3000 patients but underfunded so can't afford a second partner you will be left in lurch.
    Some common sense lacking as I see it. Different matter that it's another lolly that will be withdrawn once the insiders have been fed

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  • Is part of the recruitment problem due to significant contract changes - whether imposed or "negotiated" - on an annual basis?
    Remember the triumphialism when NHS England got the power to do this - and proclaimed their intention to use it to maximum advantage?
    One of the advantages of being a GP principal used to be the ability to plan ahead 5-10 years of practice development: now that has been removed - and even enhanced services may be cancelled half-way through the year - how can any practice comit ongoing resources to anything above the basic services which even NHSE & this government would find it impossible to cancel without replacement?
    Kenneth Clarke, in 1990, famously said that he had no objection to GPs earning enough to drive a Rolls Royce: what he didn't say was that this meant (under the Red Book and clawback) that this meant some other GP being unable to afford a push-bike...

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  • Took Early Retirement

    It would be funny, were it not so grim.

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  • Pay rise in hard to recruit areas, that would be everywhere then!

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  • Vinci Ho

    Yawning!!
    Shouldn't we all be 'bored' talking about this 1% rise and its meaning still? By now , I hope most(of course, not all) of us should have seen the true face of this government . It is embarrassing and disgusting for a health minister to speak in public , stating 1% rise can potentially solve the recruitment crisis. The two face hypocrisy is inconceivable and insulting. The wisdom behind this statement is as inferior as the other Tory MP saying in public(again) that all diabetes was absolutely avoidable if people were all disciplined:typical f***ing Tories(no alternative to swearing, sorry).
    Even an old Tory PM came out to criticise Osbourne's hypocrisy of National Living Wage and tax credit plan today. (Brown and Major attack Chancellor over poverty on Sky News).
    The reality is if you are to develop a society with two extreme polarities ( very rich and very poor ) , the so called middle class will be crowded out and virtually non existing eventually......

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  • mr hunt is determined to get rid of gps

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  • We have a bunch of morons in the Department of Health. On the one hand the department has made it difficult if not impossible foe a GP over 60 years to work( with the tax structure) and on the other hand, there is shortage of Doctors.
    Stupid.... Stupid... Stupid.

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