GP pay award - Government forces GPs to reduce expenses to maintain pay

The government has overruled the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body's (DDRB) recommendations on GMS pay this year, asking GPs to reduce the cost of their expenses by 1% to maintain their pay.

The DDRB recommended that increasing GMS funding by 1.34% would result in no net pay rise but would allow for 'movement in expenses' and a 1% rise for salaried GPs.  

But ministers have reduced the award to 0.8%, instead asking practices to reduce their expenses by 1% themselves. This decision could be unprecedented.

The DDRB's recommendation that the minimum and the maximum of the salary range for salaried GPs be increased by 1% was accepted.

England's health secretary Andy Burnham confirmed: ‘The government has decided to abate the DDRB's recommendations for GPs by applying a prospective efficiency assumption of 1% of contractors' operational costs.

‘This will have the effect of reducing the proposed uplift in the value of contract payments to 0.8% for GP practices.

'These pay uplifts are a good deal for the government and the NHS. In tough times, this package targets the pay rises we can afford to make where they can do most good for patients.'

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

‘The best-paid hospital doctors, along with GPs, dentists, and top NHS managers, will therefore get no increases,' he said.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of Council at the BMA, said he was disappointed the DDRB had been overruled.

‘We are well aware of the financial climate in which this decision is being made, but the independent pay review body took these factors into account in coming to its recommendations,' he said.

Welsh health ministers have since confirmed the same pay award and efficency requirements will be imposed in Wales 'in line with other UK administrations.'

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