The BMA’s GP Committee has been given a mandate to explore GP industrial action in response to the ‘derisory’ pay award announced this week.
Pulse has learned that a motion was passed unanimously at yesterday’s GPC meeting giving the GPC England executive team ‘the mandate to immediately escalate discussions with BMA Council’.
This is with ‘a view to potential collective/industrial action on behalf of all GPs across England’ in rejection of the ‘derisory and divisive pay award for 2022/23 announced by the Government’, the motion said.
However, GP partners remain locked into the five-year agreement which gives them just a 2% year-on-year pay rise and there is currently no indication about an uplift to GP practice finances to cover these pay increases.
GPC England deputy chair Dr Richard Van Mellaerts warned that ‘practices will fold’ if they face their ‘rocketing’ expenses without support from the Government.
He said: ‘To put it bluntly, the 4.5% “pay rise” was nothing of the sort, amounting to the wages of hardworking staff being cut by more than 6% in real-terms.
‘Meanwhile, the Government has wilfully ignored the pay body’s recommendation to give GPs who run practices any extra funding, meaning they have no means to meet even this small uplift for staff nor to pay for rocketing practice expenses.’
He added: ‘With inflation pressures set to reach 11%, something has to give. Without understanding and support from Government, practices will fold and patients will have no access to the care that they need.
‘With spiralling costs, record demand and workforce shortages across the board, we know practices across the country are already struggling to provide safe care, and the Government has now actively chosen a path that compromises this further.’
Dr Van Mellaerts said that the ‘message is clear: enough is enough’.
The Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) said it would not be making a ‘formal recommendation’ for groups under multi-year deals (MYDs), such as GP partners, but it urged the Government to work with the BMA to ‘take action to address these issues’.
At the same time, UK inflation is running at a rate of nearly 10% – a situation which under a clause to multi-year GP contract could trigger a ‘balancing mechanism’, which would defund the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme in order to top up global sum.
However, Pulse understands that it is unlikely this mechanism will be triggered any time soon.
Pulse reported earlier today that the GPC was considering what action to take on GP practice funding in England following the announcement.
In a statement to Pulse, a BMA spokesperson said that ‘to offer partners nothing additional to afford to pay colleagues the recommended uplift, nor keep up with rising expenses, is unacceptable and places practices in a difficult position’.
Meanwhile, NHS England previously warned that it may need to make cuts to primary care funding if NHS staff are awarded a pay rise of above 3% and it is not given more money to pay for it.
Motion in full
That this committee rejects the derisory and divisive pay award for 2022/23 announced by the Government, and gives the GPCE Executive team the mandate to immediately escalate discussions with BMA Council with a view to potential collective/industrial action on behalf of all GPs across England