DDRB could back extra GP pay rises in underdoctored areas from 2017

Government pay advisers could call for higher pay rises for GPs than other doctors from next year, or for targeting extra pay at underdoctored areas if the current recruitment drive fails.

The annual recommendations of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) rejected differential pay awards across regions and specialities this year, but said there would be a case for such measures from 2017 given that recruitment and retention issues are concentrated in certain specialities and locations.

The review body recommended a 1% pay rise for all doctors across the UK in line with the government's public sector pay cap.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the report and accepted its recommendations in full.

A 1% pay award for GPs was announced last month as part of changes to the GMS contract in England for 2016/17. The government and NHS England agreed a £220m funding injection for practices, a 3.2% increase, to deliver a 1% pay rise as well as practice expenses.

GP funding

For the second year the DDRB made its recommendation for GP contractors' pay net of expenses. The BMA and government negotiated a deal on expenses as part of contract talks. The DDRB has been critical of the lack of information provided by both sides on expenses costs, problems with the formula and the failure to deliver intended net income increases in previous years.

The DDRB repeated its call for more detailed information on practice expenses and noted that UK governments have the option to 'make the provision of expenses data a mandatory requirement of new [GP] contracts'.

The report also warned that increasing the GP workforce could contribute to further decline in pay rates for doctors because of the capitation link between patients per doctors and income.

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