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Salaried GPs to receive 2.8% pay uplift backdated to April

Salaried GP pay bands will be uplifted by 2.8%, backdated to April, the health secretary has announced today.

However, practices will not receive a specific funding uplift in order to fund these pay rises for staff as this is already covered in the five-year funding deal, the BMA confirmed.

The Government today announced that it has accepted the latest Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) report’s recommendation that NHS doctors and dentists in England should see a pay uplift of 2.8%.

The uplift, which also covers consultants, specialty doctors and associate specialists, will be backdated to April, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

GP practices have flexibility in how they ‘distribute pay’ to their employees but minimum and maximum pay ranges for salaried GPs will rise in line with the recommendations.

It said: ‘The minimum and maximum of the pay range in the model terms and conditions for salaried GPs will be uplifted by 2.8%. 

‘As self-employed contractors, it is largely up to GP practices how they distribute pay to their employees. Employers have the flexibility to offer enhanced terms and conditions, for example, to aid recruitment and retention.’

It added: ‘The DDRB were not asked to make a pay recommendation for contractor GPs or doctors and dentists in training as both groups are in the second year of their respective multi-year deals.‘

The BMA confirmed that the five-year GP funding deal allowed for an uplift to practice staff pay and expenses in line with predicted inflation.

However, it said the pay award is ‘grossly unfair’ and a ‘kick in the teeth’ for GPs, who have ‘put their lives at risk’ and ‘suffered financially’ after ‘pulling out all the stops’ for patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

It said: ‘Hospital consultants and staff grade, associate specialist and specialty doctors (SAS) doctors are to receive a pay uplift of 2.8 per cent, but Junior doctors and GPs will receive significantly less and will be restricted to their multi-year pay awards set last year. 

‘The BMA says this is grossly unfair and is calling on the Government in England to provide a more significant pay award to all doctors.’

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey added: ‘After such a tumultuous few months, this announcement comes with no extra funding to support practices to follow its recommendation for sessional GPs, nor allow GP partners a pay increase that truly reflects the immense efforts that they have gone to this year.

‘The long-term pay deals for both GPs and junior doctors were agreed before anyone could have predicted the chaos Covid-19 would wreak on the NHS – nor the financial pressure it would put practices under – and this must be rectified.’

He said: ‘With the promised Covid funding still not having materialised, today’s announcement – or lack of it – is just a further kick in the teeth for the profession.’

And BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘There is still no clear strategy to deal with the enormous backlog of surgery and other planned care or how doctors will take leave and be encouraged to rest. 

‘And whilst the economic climate is uncertain, if ever there was a time for a pay uplift to recognise the work done by all doctors, along with years of underpayment, it is now.’

Announcing the pay award, Mr Hancock said: ‘These past few months have been an incredibly challenging time for our NHS, and the resolve, professionalism and dedication of staff has been on show throughout. 

‘I am committed to supporting the entire NHS and social care workforce through improved recruitment and retention and delivering 50,000 more nurses and 6,000 more doctors in general practice.’

The independent pay review body considers ‘a range of evidence’ from the NHS and trade unions, the DHSC said.

The Welsh and Scottish Governments today announced they would also award the same 2.8% uplift to NHS doctors and dentists in the devolved nations – leading BMA Northern Ireland to call on its health minister to deliver a similar pay uplift ‘in a timely fashion’.

The DDRB report said this comes as the’ composition of the GP workforce has changed over recent years’, with the ‘share of contractor GMPs having fallen and that of salaried GMPs having increased’.

The report said: ‘In England, between September 2015 and March 2020, the proportion of the GMP workforce headcount made up of contractors had fallen from 61% to 51%, while that of salaried GMPs increased from 26% to 33%.

‘In Scotland between 2009 and 2019, the proportion of the GMP workforce made up of contractors fell from 78% to 66%, while that of salaried GMPs increased from 10% to 21%.’

It comes as general practice was last week omitted in plans for £3bn in extra funding to help the NHS ‘get ready for winter’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The long-awaited General Practice Covid Support Fund promised by NHS England has yet to receive approval from the Treasury, forcing CCGs to ‘stabilise’ practices with extra funding.

Meanwhile, the refocusing of QOF announced this month means that practices will have to work harder for income as protected points are reallocated.

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