DoH puts practice nurse pay and jobs at risk

Practice nurses' pay and jobs may be at risk after the DoH overruled advice on practice funding from the pay review body for doctors.

Kate Howie: pay increases for practice nurses are now unlikely this year
Kate Howie: pay increases for practice nurses are now unlikely this year

The Doctors' and Dentists' Pay Review Body (DDRB) recommended a 1.34% rise in funding for the GMS contract. It said this would bring no net pay rise for GPs, but would allow for increasing expenses such as staff costs.

But ministers cut the award to 0.8%, and said practices should slash their expenses by 1% to protect their earnings. It is the first time a government has overturned advice from the review body.

The requirement for practices to make savings mean pay increases for practice nurses are unlikely this year, said Kate Howie, chair of the RCN Practice Nurse Association.

‘There are some excellent GP employers out there so many nurses' hard work is being recognised, regardless of how tough the financial situation is.

‘But a lot of practice nurses will not be expecting a pay rise after this ruling,' she said.

The majority of practice expenses relate to staff, and accountants have warned in the past that staff cuts may be the only way to maintain income.

The DDRB report says practice nurse pay should increase by 2.25% in 2010/11, in line with the three-year nurse pay deal agreed in 2008.

Health secretary Andy Burnham called for ‘restraint' among all top-earners in the health service.

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