GP pay has been frozen for the sixth time in the last seven years which, with inflation running at 5.2%, means a further real terms cut in pay.
The new general medical services (GMS) contract for the next financial year, announced today, confirms GP fears that their pay would again not be raised despite new demands on their time.
As there was last year there will be an uplift of 0.5% to the GMS contract to help meet the costs of increased practice expenses, including pay increases for employed staff with a full time equivalent salary of less than £21,000.
‘The combination of a below-inflation uplift and new quality requirements for GP practices will deliver an estimated efficiency improvement of around 3.5%,' A Department of Health spokesperson said.
The new deal follows negotiation between the GPC and the NHS Employers organisation, on behalf of the health departments of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
GPC deputy chair and Leeds GP Dr Richard Vautrey, said: ‘The NHS is operating in a difficult financial climate and while GPs, like other doctors, won't get a pay rise, we've worked hard to ensure practices get some compensation for rising expenses and that the changes made are consistent with good clinical practice.'
Stephen Golledge, lead negotiator for the NHS Employers organisation, said: ‘The agreement will help in addressing the financial challenges faced by the wider NHS but not at the expense of services for patients.'
Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘This is a good deal for GPs, a good deal for patients and a good deal for the NHS. These are difficult economic times and there are many financial challenges facing the NHS so I welcome the BMA's commitment to delivering more and better care for patients whilst there is a continuing freeze in GP pay.'