BMA calls on CCGs to fund extra 1% pay award for GP practices

The BMA has urged CCGs to fund an extra 1% uplift to the GP practice pay award for 2018/19, warning that failing to match rises for other NHS staff will exacerbate the recruitment crisis.

In a letter to CCG chairs this month, GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey pointed out that while the government had awarded a 2% uplift for GP and practice staff pay in England - with a further 1% rise promised from April 2019 - both the Scottish and Welsh governments had recognised the need for greater increases.

In Wales, GPs and practice staff will receive a 4% uplift after the Welsh government decided to implement recommendations from the independent Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) in full. Practices in Scotland have received funding for a 3% rise.

Meanwhile, many staff working in hospitals will receive 3% pay increases in 2018/19 under the Agenda for Change pay deal, although the rise may be staggered.

Recruitment crisis

In the letter to CCGs, Dr Vautrey wrote: 'I am sure you share my concern about the recruitment and retention crisis that is not only impacting GPs, but also their practice staff.

'The difference in pay awards between staff on Agenda for Change and the GP practice workforce, who are increasingly working alongside one another, will undermine morale in your practices and make staff recruitment and retention worse.'

Dr Vautrey urged CCGs to 'seriously consider funding the additional 1% of the GP practice pay award backdated to April 2018 rather than from April 2019, so ensuring that every GP practice in your area can make a 3% uplift to practice staff this year'.

The letter added: ''As a CCG you will have committed to fund the agreed uplift for all staff on the Agenda for Change contract and I therefore hope you can see how important it is to do the same for all staff working in GP practices. The GPs and practice staff in your area deserve nothing less.'

Workforce

Dr Vautrey told GPonline: 'General practice is in the midst of a recruitment and retention crisis, not only impacting doctors, but for many areas of the country it is just as acute, if not more so, for their practice staff.

'As some of these staff see their NHS colleagues doing comparable roles but on Agenda for Change contracts – many of whom they work alongside – receive a more favourable pay deal to themselves, it will only undermine morale and could exacerbate general practice workforce shortages.

'I have therefore written to all CCGs in England to highlight this risk. I hope that they will take this opportunity to work with their LMCs and consider bridging this gap until additional funding is provided in April 2019, and so reduce the risk of making the GP practice workforce crisis worse as winter approaches.'

The BMA has called for CCGs to confirm whether they will agree to deliver the rise.

A survey by GPonline last month found that six out of seven GP partners in England plan to increase pay in their practice this yar, but just one in six expect their own pay to rise.

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