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Welsh GPs to consider industrial action after failed contract negotiations

Welsh GPs to consider industrial action after failed contract negotiations

GP leaders in Wales will vote on whether to consider ‘meaningful industrial action’ following an ‘inadequate’ contract offer by the Government for this financial year. 

Contract talks between the BMA’s GP Committee for Wales, the Welsh Government and NHS Wales broke down in October last year.

However this month both parties ‘mutually decided’ to end negotiations despite being unable to reach agreement, and a total of £20m was invested into the GMS contract, which is 4.4% of the contract value of £450m.

At the Welsh LMCs conference next month, local leaders will vote on a motion which ‘deplores the failure’ of the Welsh Government to negotiate a contract and calls on the BMA to ‘urgently consider meaningful industrial action in primary care’. 

This was grouped with a similar motion, which will not be discussed on the day, urging GPCW to ‘explain to the Minister the consequences of mass practice resignations due to underfunding’. 

LMCs will also debate a call for changes to the GMS pay offer, so that expenses are 100% funded and minimum wage increases are accounted for. 

Other motions include whether the GPC should explore ‘alternative models of primary care’, and a call for Wales to avoid restricting additional roles funding to ‘only some professional groups’, as is the case in England with ARRS funding.

When delayed contract negotiations for this financial year ended earlier this month, GPCW chair Dr Gareth Oelmann said the committee’s position remains that the proposed uplift was ‘sub-inflationary’ and does not meet the recommendations of the DDRB.

The uplift included a 5% pay rise for all general practice staff, backdated to April 2023, which is below the 6% pay rise for salaried GPs and practice staff in England.

Along with calls for industrial action, LMC leaders will vote on a motion calling for contract changes to ‘be negotiated well in advance of 1st April’ and ‘implemented on time’, unlike this year’s process.

Last summer, GPC Wales launched its Save Our Surgeries campaign which called for an ‘urgent rescue package’ from the Welsh Government to save general practice from collapsing. 

And a BMA petition calling for the rescue package received over 21,000 signatures.