GPs and their practice staff in Scotland are to receive a one-off £500 bonus in recognition of their work during the pandemic, the Scottish Government has announced.
Over 300,000 health and social care staff across the country, including GP contractors and their staff providing NHS services, will be ‘thanked for their service’ with the pro-rated payment, it said.
All NHS and social care staff who have been employed since 17 March 2020 will be eligible, including temporary staff, those who have had to shield and those who have since retired.
The £180m total investment will be funded from the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 support package and payments will be made ‘as soon as is practicable’ this financial year, the Government said.
Announcing the payment yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘Back in the spring, at the height of the first wave of Covid, many of us publicly – and often loudly – showed our appreciation for the work our NHS and social care staff were doing.
‘The applause was important, but it was never enough. Our appreciation must be shown in a more tangible way.’
She added that the Scottish Government is in the ‘early stages’ of negotiating a new 2020/21 pay deal for NHS Agenda for Change staff but that negotiations ‘will take time to conclude’ and staff ‘deserve recognition now’.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘On behalf of us all, the Scottish Government will give every full-time NHS and social care worker £500 as a one-off thank you payment for their extraordinary service in this toughest of years. Those who work part-time will get a proportionate share.’
‘Of course, a payment like this can never come close to expressing our full admiration for those who have cared for us so heroically. But to our health and care workers, it is a demonstration of what we collectively owe you – and a heartfelt thank you for the sacrifices you have made.’
The money has ‘no strings attached’ and is separate from any longer-term pay negotiations, she added.
Meanwhile, primary care minister Jo Churchill thanked GPs in England for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic last month.
But GPs have been told that the £150m fund injected to keep GP services running throughout the Covid vaccination campaign is the sum of additional pandemic funding for practices in England ‘until March’.