NHS staff in Wales will get an additional 3% pay rise, after trade unions accepted an offer proposed by the Government, with GP leaders calling for similar pay rises to be applied to general practice.
Following a meeting between Welsh ministers and trade unions yesterday, the Wales Partnership Forum ‘narrowly’ accepted the enhanced pay offer proposed by the Welsh Government for 2022/23.
The offer includes an additional 3%, 1.5% consolidated and 1.5% non-consolidated on top of the increase paid earlier this year, equating to an additional 7.6% on the NHS pay bill.
It will apply to all secondary care doctors and other hospital staff, but not to GPs, who are covered by a multideal pay award and received a 4.5% pay uplift as per recommendations from the Doctors and Dentist Review Body.
However, BMA Wales leaders have called for further negotiations around GP pay based on this agreement.
Health minister Eluned Morgan said: ‘While we are pleased that the offer has been accepted, we recognise the strength of feeling amongst members.
‘We will continue to work together in partnership to work through the implementation of this offer, and also to begin immediate discussions on next steps including continued meaningful conversations on the nature of the pay award for 23/24 and additional non pay elements to improve the conditions and well-being for our NHS staff.
‘We would also like to reiterate that should conversations in England result in an offer for NHS staff in England which will mean consequentials coming to Wales, these will of course be passed on to NHS staff in Wales.’
BMA Cymru Wales chair Dr Iona Collins said that pay restoration is finally ‘a shared goal.’
She said: ‘The enhanced pay offer for 22/23 marks the beginning of what we need to invest in staff and improve working conditions for the sake of both patients and staff alike.
‘There is still a great deal of work to be done to get a fairer deal for doctors in Wales and we are pleased the Welsh Government has agreed that talks will start immediately on the pay award for the 23/24 pay year.
‘Our priorities will include ensuring the Welsh Government achieve their commitment of pay restoration. The next step will be for Welsh Government to confirm a timeline for restoring pay which, for some doctors, has been cut by 26% in real terms since 2008.’
She pointed out that pay restoration must include the entire medical workforce in order to retain staff, including GPs.
She added: ‘We cannot overlook the essential work done by GPs, who provide over 80% of all NHS healthcare.
‘Primary care has been financially squeezed and without investment, we will continue to see GPs taking early retirement or returning their contracts.
‘We will suffer longer waits to see GPs with fewer doctors available to deliver care. Fewer GPs will cause even greater pressure on hospitals, which are already overwhelmed.
‘Urgent discussions continue with the Welsh Government as we press for equivalent investment for hard working staff in primary care.’
Last month, the Department of Health in England recommended a pay rise of up to 3.5% for salaried GPs in its submission to the to the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration.
NHS England suggested that GP practices will only be able to afford a 2.1% pay rise for their salaried doctors and other staff this year.