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Welsh Government matches 0.28% GP funding uplift in England

The devolved Government in Wales has announced a GP funding uplift ‘consistent’ with the deal announced today in England.

Like English colleagues, Welsh GP practices will see just a 0.28% rise to global sum payments with the 2014/15 contract, which the DDRB formula translated to a 1% rise in take-home pay for GPs.

The decision marked a contrast on last year, when Welsh GPs received a 1.5% funding uplift, compared with 1.32% in England.

But there could still be hope of a bigger pay reward for salaried GPs, as the Welsh Government said it wants to distribute the 1% pay rise in a different way than in England. It urged NHS Employers and the BMA to enter into ‘urgent discussions’ to settle the matter.

Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘For GPs in Wales, we will accept the DDRB recommendations and maintain consistency with GPs in England… For non-consultant salaried doctors, we will make an award based on the same quantum as the Department of Health – equivalent to the cost of implementing the Department of Health proposals in Wales. However, we may wish to distribute the award in a different way.’

‘NHS Employers and the British Medical Association Wales will be asked to undertake urgent discussions and make recommendations about how this sum can be distributed to maximise our original commitments to maintain high standards of patient care in the Welsh NHS.’

GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones responded by asking the Welsh Government to reconsider their position.

She said: ‘We are bitterly disappointed that the Welsh Government is proposing to implement the DDRB recommendations in line with England, which equates to a 0.28% uplift to the GP contract. This derisory amount is justified by arguing that practice expenses have fallen – whereas, feedback from our members suggests quite the opposite.’

‘The reality of this “pay award” is to cause yet another real terms pay cut for GP practices in Wales at a time when [r]ecruitment and retention of GPs in Wales is a growing problem, that will lead to difficulties in sustaining patient services particularly on the back of; [t]he ever increasing workloads and demand placed on GPs; [and t]he Welsh Government requires a sustainable GP workforce to develop its strategies.’

‘We strongly urge the Welsh Government to reconsider its decision with the view to applying a higher than recommended uplift, that would recognise the strains facing Welsh GPs, and honour the Welsh health minister’s commitment to see “our resources invested in primary care”.’

The Scottish Government announced that it would accept the DDRB recommendation for salaried NHS staff ‘in full’, meaning that unlike England and Wales salaried staff would get both incremental salary increases and the 1% uplift, however it said it would make a separate announcement for GPs.

The Northern Irish Government said negotiations are still ongoing.

Last year, practices in Wales and Northern Ireland were given a 1.5% funding uplift for 2013/14 and English GPs received a 1.32% uplift. Scottish GPs received the lowest increase, at 1.25%, after the DDRB had recommended a 2.29% uplift across the UK.