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NHSE warns DDRB against recommending GP pay increase above 2%

NHSE warns DDRB against recommending GP pay increase above 2%

NHS England has warned the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) against recommending a GP pay increase above 2%.

In its evidence to the pay review body, NHSE advised that any pay awards higher than the funding settlement from the Treasury will ‘put further pressure’ on the NHS budget.

This could impact on ‘staffing numbers’ and delivery of NHS activity or ‘service improvements’, the national commissioner warned.

The submission stated that within the NHS settlement, ‘funding is available for a pay uplift of 2% for contractor GPs, salaried GPs and other salaried practice staff’.

Since this evidence was submitted to the DDRB in February, NHS England and the Government have imposed a new GP contract for 2024/25 which increased funding by 2.23%.

Pulse revealed earlier this year that the Government will reconsider its GP funding uplift once the DDRB makes a recommendation on GP pay, but it is not obliged to accept it in full.

This is the first time in five years that the DDRB has been asked to give a recommendation on GP partner pay following the 2019 five-year GP contract deal that had aimed for a 2% year-on-year pay increase.

In its evidence to the pay review body, NHSE said: ‘Pay awards that are higher than the levels contained in the funding settlement, if not supported by additional funding from government, will put further pressure on the NHS budget given the existing funding pressures.

‘This could impact on staffing numbers and the ability to deliver planned activity or service improvements.’

The evidence also included data on the number of GPs in the workforce by role and their income.

Average GP contractor income before tax rose by 8% from £142,000 in 2020/21 to £153,400 in 2021/22.

NHS England noted that this is ‘significantly above’ the maximum 2.1% uplift agreed, but highlighted that this is ‘due mainly to the additional funding’ provided to GP practices for the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Average income before tax for salaried GPs in England also increased over the same period, from £64,900 to £68,000 – a jump of just under 5%.

But NHS England only included data up until 2021/22 in its DDRB submission, and a recent BMA survey suggested that GP contractor income in England has dropped by a fifth in the past year.

Pulse revealed in January that GP partners at a practice which invited all salaried GPs to take voluntary redundancy did not take any drawings during the last year.

On Friday, the Government confirmed that it will make changes to the operation of the DDRB, taking into account the views of the BMA, after reaching a pay settlement with consultants.

From next year, there will be changes to the way the body will appoint members, and the Government will not be able to ‘constrain’ its remit with reference to inflation targets and economic evidence.

The DDRB’s terms of reference will also be changed to specifically include developments in earnings over time in the context of long-term trends in the wider labour market, comparator professions, and relevant international comparators.

These changes mean that the DDRB ‘can no longer ignore the historical losses’ that doctors have suffered, the BMA said.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

David Church 9 April, 2024 11:29 am

They can’t do that! That is interference with the ‘independence’ of the ‘Independent D&D Pay Review Body’ !
In any case, it is counterproductive to sustainability of the NHS, because limiting the effectiveness and freedom of the DDRB and keeping pay artificailly low will hasten loss of doctors from the NHS.
Oh, but that is what they wanted wasn’t it – plenty of other cheaper staff line dup until it crashes completely and everybody either dies off altogether or pays for private care, which only about 0.001 % can afford.

Ian Haczewski 9 April, 2024 11:36 am

Absolutely agree , how is that an independent pay body is being interfered with in this way !

So the bird flew away 9 April, 2024 11:39 am

I’ll be honest, average GP contractor income if it is £150k seems a lot to me when you compare it to salaried GP pay and locum income (most of whom work part time). Can’t see how the public would be sympathetic. The enriching 2004 contract’s got a lot to answer for, creating divisions amongst equally qualified GPs. Now I guess the current Govt (and the next) will claw back GP funding so that over the next 10 years most GPs will be salaried, and costs reduced?

Tim Atkinson 9 April, 2024 12:27 pm

Interesting that much is often made of the difference between partners’ and salaried/locum drs’ incomes yet still nobody seems to want to become a partner. I wonder why?

jeremy tankel 9 April, 2024 1:08 pm

The question as to why so few doctors want to become partners feels the wrong question. It is why do so few partners want to add partners to their team? For me the reason is obvious. It will reduce their income.
I understand that their is a risk and the buck stops here to being a partner which should be rewarded but their needs to be a clearly defined route to partner and the financial rewards that comes with that.

Pradeep Bahalkar 9 April, 2024 2:25 pm

Looks like this government is hell bent on breaking GP practice model for some reason. Unfortunately this is the only part of NHS which is working efficiently and gives value for money for taxpayer. NHSE will end up paying lot more to get same amount of work done if all GP were salaried GP as almost every partner puts in lot more hours than we are contracted for.
The moment this become full salaried model, no GP partner
will work a minute more than they are contracted for and then NHSE will realise how much better GP partnership model was. If NHSE has guts & appetite for full salaried GP model, let them buy all GP practices and make all of us Salaried GP.

Liquorice Root- Bitter and Twisted. 9 April, 2024 5:02 pm

So much for the ‘INDEPENDENT ‘ DDRB.
Utterly scandalous that it can be interfered with in this way thus a waste of everyone’s time.

Stefan Kuetter 9 April, 2024 5:43 pm

@liquorice root – it is part of the DDRB process that all parties involved submit their “evidence” to the DDRB. So that’s not interference or scandalous…

Michael Green 9 April, 2024 6:28 pm

Real terms pay cut means real terms effort cut. Refer everything in 2 week wait. Kindly

So the bird flew away 9 April, 2024 8:33 pm

@jeremytankel – super comment “why do so few partners want to add partners to their team? For me the reason is obvious. It will reduce their income.”

Enough said…

David Jarvis 11 April, 2024 11:08 am

Average partner income seems oddly high although covid clinics did provide a boost to income temporarily off the back of a lot of overtime and weekend work. We paid our staff who also worked extra well for this. Partners income always includes 20.4% employers pension contribution. Done in 2004 to artificially raise apparent income and much loved by many jealous ill informed people.
I know there are some money grabbing shysters running partnerships but we are not all like that. Partner income has varied hugely in my career and any boost in 2004 has long been clawed back. We are 20% down from last year but have to pay tax on last years higher rate then get it back next January. Frankly it is a bit crap. Of course if you believe the Daily Mail bilious hate then why not become a partner? It is clearly all sunshine roses and posh cars. Most practices have struggled to revcriut and now cannot afford to.

Rogue 1 11 April, 2024 3:07 pm

No worries they cant afford it. What they dont realise is they cant afford not to
I have already started working to rule, and rejecting everything being dumped into General practice.
I can clog up out patients and slow everything down – just see what happens to their ‘waiting times’ and ‘targets’ in 6months.
Oooh isnt that election time 🙂

J Landen 12 April, 2024 1:07 pm

Who are the doctors who work for NHS England-could they be the 0.1% who voted for the contact. To angry to say more and I will get moderated!