GP leaders in final bid to secure 2018/19 pay rise

GP leaders will give oral evidence to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) within days in a final bid to secure a significant increase beyond the interim 1% pay settlement agreed as part of the 2018/19 GP contract.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GPonline that he expected to give oral evidence to the DDRB - which will also hear from the DHSC and NHS England - 'in the next few days'.

However, GPs could yet face a long wait to find out what their final pay rise for 2018/19 will be - given that the DDRB is not expected to publish recommendations until late May at the earliest, and that there may be a further delay while the government decides whether to follow the review body's advice.

The GPC chair said he would reiterate much of what the BMA said in evidence to the DDRB in February, but also highlight cost pressures that have emerged since then.

Nurses' pay

Dr Vautrey said GP practices would need a further increase in funding to allow them to compete with higher rates of pay offered to nurses through the recent NHS pay deal. The deal announced last month will give NHS staff at least a 6.5% pay rise over three years through the Agenda for Change pay scales, after the government ended the long-standing 1% cap.

'Agenda for Change rates clearly have implications for GPs,' said Dr Vautrey. 'Every practice has to compete to recruit staff within their local economy - and that will have an impact.'

BMA evidence to the DDRB earlier this year called for a 2% pay rise for GPs on top of a 4% uplift in line with the retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation.

The GMS contract deal unveiled in March included only a 1% uplift for the GP pay element of the contract - a figure the BMA hopes to see rise 'following any uplift secured through the DDRB process.

GP pay

It remains unclear when GPs can expect confirmation of the final pay deal for 2018/19 - something that could take some time even after DDRB recommendations emerge, depending on whether the government accepts the review body's advice.

DDRB chair Professor Sir Paul Curran confirmed in January that he expected to deliver a report including pay recommendations 'by the end of May 2018' - but conceded at the time that this date 'may need to be reviewed'.

Dr Vautrey said the normal process would involve parties giving oral evidence in December, and the report coming out in February, and that he did not know what measures were in place to speed this process up.

Meanwhile, practices have begun to receive payments worth £1.017 per patient as part of the £60m package of indemnity cost reimbursement announced as part of the latest GP contract deal.

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