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Government recommends 4.5% pay rise for salaried GPs

Money

By Caitlin Tilley
20 July 2022

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Salaried GPs have been recommended a 4.5% pay rise by the Government, while practice staff could benefit from a pay rise of at least £1,400.

Recommendations by the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) have been accepted in full by the Government for England today.

GP partners remain excluded from the DDRB recommendations due to the five-year contract currently in place. 

But the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) today said that eligible doctors and dentists – including salaried GPs – should receive a pay rise of 4.5%.

And it recommended that NHS staff under the Agenda for Change contract should receive a pay increase ‘at least’ £1,400 backdated to April this year.

There is currently no indication about an uplift to GP practice finances to cover these pay increases.

NHS England warned that it may need to make cuts to primary care funding if staff are awarded a pay rise of above 3% and it is not given more money to pay for it.

Over one million NHS staff are recommended to get a pay rise under the settlement, with the lowest earners such as cleaners recommended to receive up to 9.3%.

These would be the highest uplifts in nearly 20 years, the DHSC said.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said the decision was because ‘this Government hugely values and appreciates the dedication and contribution of NHS staff’.

He said: ‘We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I am pleased to accept them in full.        

‘We want a fair deal for staff. Very high inflation-driven settlements would have a worse impact on pay packets in the long run than proportionate and balanced increases now, and it is welcome that the pay review bodies agree with this approach.’

Chief executive of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, Danny Mortimer said: ‘We welcome an increase in pay for hardworking and overstretched NHS staff beyond the 3% uplift originally budgeted for.’

He said: ‘Given the challenges facing our sector, a new Prime Minister must support a longer term plan for reward as part of the desperately needed and long overdue workforce plan for the NHS. 

‘This needs to include action on incentivising promotion, rewarding long-serving graduates, and making our pension scheme fairer and more flexible.’

Mr Mortimer added: ‘With a one-year pay award again being announced four months into the financial year, we would also urge the Government to plan now for a more timely decision in future. Our NHS staff should surely know about their pay award before the financial year starts.’

Richard Murray, chief executive of The King’s Fund, said: ‘While the pay uplift announced today is more than in previous years, and even with staff on lower pay grades getting a bigger boost, the majority of staff will be getting a below inflation rise and that will leave many with a real terms pay cut. The vast majority of health and care staff are motivated by more than just pay, but there comes a point where low pay combined with high workload will push some to leave the health service, and the NHS can ill-afford to lose any more staff.’

In February, the Government’s submission to the doctors’ pay review body said salaried GPs should receive a pay uplift of 2% this year.

Setting out the pay review’s remit in December, it had also said ‘affordability’ for practices must be taken into account when recommending a salaried GP pay rise.

The five-year GP contract for England’s GPs, entered into in 2019/20, aimed to give GP partners a 2% year-on-year pay increase.

However, for the last financial year, the Government accepted a DDRB recommendation for salaried GPs to receive a 3% pay rise.

At the time, the BMA commented that this was an ’empty promise’ without additional funding for GP practices to pay for it.

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week said that a ‘large rise in GP appointments’ was a main contributor to UK economic growth in May.

A version of this story appeared on our sister title, Pulse.

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