A 3% pay rise announced by the Government for salaried GPs in England comes with no extra funding for practices to pay for it, the BMA has pointed out.
GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the pay rise was a ‘completely empty promise’.
He added that the Department of Health and Social Care had ‘yet again’ completely ignored the hard work of GP partners during the pandemic.
The Government had proposed a 1% pay increase for doctors in March, but has now accepted the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Renumeration (DDRP) of 3%.
The pay offer, which is backdated to 1 April, applies to NHS staff including hospital doctors and salaried GPs in England. GP partners are excluded as they are still under the five-year pay agreement which expires in 2024/25. Junior doctors are also not covered by the offer.
Dr Vautrey said: ‘It’s shameful for the Government to sell this as a pay rise for doctors, while asking other doctors to foot the bill.
‘Salaried GPs will rightly want to be paid the full uplift announced today; GP partners will rightly be thinking about where that money will now have to come from and what cuts they will have to make to afford it.
‘All GPs have gone above and beyond during the pandemic – yet with this announcement the Government attempts to divide the profession by not giving partners the funding needed to pay the 3% uplift. It’s absolutely critical that the Government provides this additional money to practices now so they are able to do this.
‘Partners will feel that their hard work and sacrifices of the last 18 months – when they have moved heaven and earth to transform services as well as leading the vaccination campaign – have been completely ignored. They will yet again feel undervalued by ministers, further plunging levels of morale when many are at rock bottom.’
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘It is disappointing that today’s announcement of a 3% pay uplift for doctors in England does not adequately recognise the extraordinary contribution of doctors working in the most challenging period in their professional lives…
‘Junior doctors and GPs on multi-year pay deals in England have given just as much of themselves as all doctors to care for their patients – and yet have been callously disregarded in this pay award and will receive less than their peers.’
The BMA had called for a 5% pay rise for hospital consultants.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts. We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.
‘We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up. I will continue to do everything I can to support all those in our health service who are working so tirelessly to care for patients.’
The Welsh Government has also announced a 3% uplift for NHS staff.
Health minister Eluned Morgan said: ‘This pay rise recognises the dedication and commitment of hardworking NHS staff and the enormous contribution they have made. It is also a recognition of how valued they are by Welsh communities.’
In its review, the DDRB said it welcomed provisions that had been put in place by the Welsh Government to ensure that pay uplifts are passed on to salaried GPs and other practice staff and would encourage other UK governments to take a similar approach.
It follows contract negotiations for last year in which the Welsh Government agreed to uplift staff budgets by the full amount recommended by the DDRB with the expectation it would be passed on to staff.
A spokesperson for BMA Wales said that GMS contract negotiations – which would include discussions around practice running expenses – are underway.
‘We would expect a recognition that the award for GP principals is not contingent on changing contract arrangements beyond expenses discussions,’ they added.