GPs 'unlikely' to give staff 2.5% rise

GPs are unlikely to offer practice nurses the full pay rise recommended by the government, nurse representatives have warned.

The Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) last week recommended an uplift of 2.29% in GP funding, which would pay for a 2.53% pay rise for practice staff – the equivalent to the pay increase NHS staff on Agenda for Change (AfC) band 5 receive this year.

RCN primary care adviser Lynn Young welcomed the report, but noted that nurse pay at some practices had fallen behind in recent years. She said that GPs’ independent contractor status would make it ‘very difficult’ for nurses to win the recommended pay hike. ‘They won't do this until they find difficult to recruit good nurses,’ she added.

Ms Young also criticised GPs claims that nurses are paid ‘out of their own pockets’. ‘The practice receives an income, and it should be fairly distributed,’ she said. ‘If GPs want independence they need to responsibly reward their workforce.’

The RCN and BMA are meeting to discuss a joint letter to GPs, similar to one sent in 2004, outlining the benefits of offering decent terms and conditions for practice nurses.

Jenny Aston, chair of the RCN’s Nurse Practitioner’s Association, said that the DDRB report and the letter would be useful tools for pay negotiations. ‘But I don't think they'll necessarily have any influence,’ she said. ‘GPs will make decisions based on their own financial situation. Some will plead poverty.’

The RCN estimates that 40% of practice nurses currently earn less than they would under AfC.

It has in the past called for adherence to the pay framework to be included within the terms of the GMS contract.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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