GPs renew call to end NHS pay cap amid budget speculation

GP leaders have repeated calls for the 'unjustified' 1% cap on NHS pay to be lifted, after reports suggested the government could do so this autumn.

Lifting the pay cap could form the centrepiece of the government's autumn budget, according to reports in The Sun newspaper on Monday.

GP pay rises, in line with the rest of the NHS, have been capped at 1% since 2013/14. NHS pay was frozen for two years before the 1% cap was imposed.

The Sun said the plans under consideration by officials could see the pay cap lifted over two years with groups on the lowest pay and facing the worst retention problems seeing the first pay rises.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested he wants to see nurses' pay increased.

NHS pay cap

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the ‘unjustified’ pay cap had had ‘a significant demoralising impact on NHS staff and its demise is long overdue’.

While many public workers had seen annual 1% pay rises, he said, GPs ‘have not even seen this for many of the last 10 years’.

Dr Vautrey told GPonline: ‘It's no wonder that so many young doctors are put off taking up general practice as a career. This has to be addressed as part of attempts to address the recruitment and retention GP workforce crisis.’

Earlier this year NHS Digital figures revealed that the full-time GP workforce had dropped by 445 in the three months to December 2016.

Last week the government revealed plans to pay recruitment firms up to £100m to bring in between 2,000 and 3,000 GPs from overseas to hit its target of boosting the GP workforce by 5,000 by 2020.

GPonline reported last month that indemnity had stripped the equivalent of 2,500 GPs from the NHS workforce.

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