GP pay cut enforced in England is backed in Scotland and Wales

GPs in Scotland and Wales have effectively been given a pay cut as the governments in both countries followed England's lead in overruling the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB).

On Wednesday England's health secretary Andy Burnham overturned the DDRB recommendation of a 1.34% uplift to meet rising expenses and result in a pay freeze. Instead he insisted on a 0.8% increase, which the DoH estimates will mean practices will have to make 1% efficiencies in expenses to maintain pay.

Scotland's health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘In the current financial circumstances I think this is a broadly fair and affordable award which recognises the important and valuable work done by doctors.

‘For independent contractor GPs ... the DDRB recommendation is acceptable, with appropriate amendment to take account of reasonable efficiencies as are being applied in the rest of the NHS.'

Health ministers in Wales confirmed the same pay award and efficiency requirements will be imposed in Wales.

News from Northern Ireland is still awaited. This story will be updated as soon as it is received.

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

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum described the pay award as ‘another pay cut for family doctors', adding: ‘It is interesting that the government accepted in full the salary increases recommended for MPs, yet chose to penalise dedicated and hard-working doctors who strive to lead and deliver improvements in care whilst working in exceptionally challenging circumstances.'

Dr Brian Keighley, BMA Scotland chairman, said: 'The BMA is disappointed that the government has chosen to overrule the recommendations of the independent pay review body relating to GPs. 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. The government has scaled back the uplift that was essential to counter increases in GPs' expenses, which has resulted in another pay cut for family doctors at a time when Scottish GP earnings are falling far behind GPs in the rest of the UK.'

Neil Durham

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