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The pay uplift outlined in the 2023/24 GP contract will leave PCNs struggling to manage cost-of-living pressures and will risk losing lower paid practice members, a leading GP has warned.
This year’s contract, published in March, currently funds a 2.1% pay increase for GPs and practice staff and practice expenses – in line with inflation as of April 2019 – against the actual 10% inflation rate.
But Dr Richard Vautrey, former chair of the BMA’s GP Committee and board member of West Yorkshire ICB, said that the pay increase does not account for the sharp rise in inflation in England, which has had a direct impact on practice and PCN costs.
And neither does this pay increase match the pay offer the Government has proposed for Agenda for Change staff as negotiated with unions.
Speaking at a Pulse PCN event in Leeds, Dr Vautrey said the Government cannot expect general practice to retain practice staff without a greater pay increase offered in the contract.
Dr Vautrey said: ‘Practices need the necessary funding to pay their staff and most of the work with the cost-of-living rise, and that’s not within the contract package.
‘Ultimately, it means that staff will leave and it will be harder and harder to retain the excellent staff we have within general practice because they can earn more in Aldi or a supermarket.’
In January, a Pulse PCN investigation highlighted that the NHS and the social care sector are struggling to cannot compete with major supermarkets for staff, including Amazon, Lidl and Aldi, and are losing workers to the international retailers.
Chief executives from several integrated care boards (ICBs) along with GP leaders said the wages and benefits offered by supermarkets, combined with the rate at which roles open up at new stores, has made it incredibly challenging to position the NHS and social care as a good option for work.
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