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GP recruitment concern is 'no compelling reason' for pay increase, say NHS managers

NHS England has rebutted calls for GPs to be given a pay rise above 1%, stating that there are ‘no compelling issues’ with recruiting salaried GPs in its supplementary evidence to the pay review body.

The Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) had noted that ‘salaried GP recruitment and retention is a problem for some areas of England’ in its original response to NHS England’s calls for a pay increase of no more than 1%. However, NHS England responded that while it was aware of the problem in some areas of England, it should not be remedied with a further pay increase.

GP leaders said that NHS England did not understand the situation faced by GP practices, and a failure to increase GPs’ remuneration would lead to a ‘collapse’ of general practice.

The DDRB will make recommendations to NHS England on how much GPs’ pay should be uplifted in the new year. However, NHS England is under no obligation to take on board the review body’s recommendations, as was the case last year, when health secretary Jeremy Hunt ignored its recommended 2.29% increase, and awarded a 1.32% uplift instead.

NHS England’s supplementary evidence follows its original evidence submitted at the end of September, The BMA had asked for at least an inflationary uplift to funding.

However, the DDRB asked NHS England to clarify its position, pointing out there were recruitment problems in England.

The supplementary evidence submitted by NHS England read: ‘Whilst there might be some areas where recruitment is more challenging than others, there do not appear to be any compelling labour market issues for doctors that could be addressed by increasing pay in 2014/15.’

Reacting to NHS England’s position on recruitment, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘If NHS England are saying that there are no recruitment or retention issues then they need to get out more. Increasingly practices are telling us that they cannot recruit GPs and ever-increasing numbers of GPs are looking to retire as soon as possible.

‘Addressing that will take time and is complex, but fair remuneration plays an important part. Cutting GPs’ pay further following the year-on-year cuts we’ve recently experienced, which is what would happen if the DDRB followed the NHS England line, will simply bring us one step closer to general practice collapsing under the workload pressure and crisis in morale.’

However, NHS England’s supplementary evidence also included a piece of good news for GPs, as NHS England confirmed that it will now pay PMS practices for locum superannuations.

The DDRB had asked how shouldering this cost for GMS but not PMS contractors was in line with NHS England’s ‘equitable funding’ policies.

NHS England responded: ‘At the time of the decision to transfer responsibility for employers’ pension contributions for locums, it was not clear to what extent PCTs had previously made bespoke payments in relation to locum superannuation costs for PMS practices. NHS England has since undertaken an exercise across its area teams to collect details of what is included within PMS baseline expenditure for each practice.

‘On the basis of this exercise, NHS England has concluded that funding should be transferred to PMS practices on the same basis as GMS practices. The exercise has shown that, in practice, a number of area teams have already transferred funding to PMS practices in this way.’

Dr Vautrey said: ‘We have been told that NHS England are writing to area teams telling them that they should now pay PMS practices the locum superannuation payments in line with payments already made to GMS practices. This comes after persistent pressure from GPC and so we are pleased that PMS practices are to finally get what is owing to them. This will be backdated to April.’

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Readers' comments (24)

  • But of course pay is of vital importance when recruiting MP's hence the 11 % hike in their pay.

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  • We were promised a pay freeze . To have pay frozen at 2004 levels we need a 25 % increase ( based on RPI over 10 years ) .

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  • Vinci Ho

    For those who advocates all GPs will go salaried , please 'conquer' your number one enemy- NHSE first......

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  • Tom Caldwell

    GP recruitment concern is 'no compelling reason' for pay increase, say NHS managers.

    Alternatively "we could not care less", say NHS managers. (alternative and much ruder words available)

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  • Oh dear, NHS England are already beginning to look irrelevant if they insist on ignoring the obvious. It doesn't matter if they say there are no serious recruitment issues because they are real and sooner or later the voters are going to notice. Nationally there is a large cohort of GPs (22% I think) who are coming up to retirement age. Many of the new trainees are likely to be working part time whilst demand is growing rapidly due to well known demographic changes so there is very real trouble brewing. In fairness to NHS England it's unlikely to be felt for a few years but I predict an insidious onset with outlying areas hit initially. Once large conurbations in the less desirable regions are affected there will be knock on consequences to business and the housing market because densely populated areas will become unviable places to live due to scarcity of basic medical services. If they think the private sector will come to the rescue they are seriously deluded as there is not enough profit in provision of primary care to the poor. My prophesy may sound cataclysmic but recently in this country people were cuing round the block to sign on with NHS dentists. Loss of primary care will be far more dramatic.

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  • Anon 7:47 your facts are wrong it is not 22% it is 40% of GPs over 50 and nhs England is hungrily eyeing up Romania and Bulgaria to solve the catastrophe that is around the corner

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  • Give it another 3-4 years and there will be a mass exodus of GPs who will be pushed into retirement due to loss of seniority payments. Then let the fun and games begin......

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  • Tom Caldwell

    Reduced income, reduced pension for increased contribution, ever increasing time until retirement, ever increasing workload, soon to be even more increased hours, blamed clinician, health and social care bill, CQC, demonized by the press as lazy and incompetent, removal of occupational health support, falling funding increased expectation. It's a good job the vast majority of us in general practice are caring dedicated professionals who believe in the principles of the NHS because without this (many would say misguided) belief there are some pretty compelling reasons to leave.

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  • I think you overestimate your worth.GPs are not surgeons who bring any specialist skills to the table without which the NHS will certainly collapse.An advanced nurse care practitioner can do your gatekeeper job much more cheaply.

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  • Anonymous 8:41.
    I hope that you like what is coming your way because trust me it is coming.

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