GPs face real-terms 2013/14 pay cut as Hunt rejects DDRB advice

Practices will receive a below-inflation 1.32% funding uplift for GMS contracts in 2013/14 after the DH rejected advice from the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB).

Practices will receive a below-inflation uplift in GMS contracts in 2013/14
Practices will receive a below-inflation uplift in GMS contracts in 2013/14

The uplift is lower than the 1.5% GMS uplift initially proposed by the government in October, and falls well short of the 2.29% rise recommended by the DDRB.

When the 1.5% uplift was initially proposed, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman warned it was ‘certain to lead to the biggest pay cut yet for GPs’.

A DH spokeswoman said: 'We are clear that it is unfair for any NHS staff to be paid more than the 1% increase given to all public sector workers.

'GP practices are independent businesses and free to set staff pay levels as they see fit.

'We are committed to making sure pay increases are fair and consistent across the NHS and will announce how the 1.3% contract uplift will be allocated shortly.'

The DDRB recommended a total uplift of 2.29% for GMS contractors (see table below), but the DH rejected its suggested 3.4% uplift to the element of GP pay that covers rising staff costs.

In a written ministerial statement, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government had chosen to 'accept the recommendation of a 1% increase in GP pay but abate the recommended allowance for GP practice staff costs from 3.4% to 1% to reflect public sector pay policy, giving an overall increase in GMS payments of 1.32% rather than the 2.29% recommended by DDRB'.

Dean Royles, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: 'The government's decision to uplift the GP contract by 1.32% clearly seeks to ensure that increases in the take-home pay of practice staff are consistent with increases that other staff within the NHS will receive.'

The decision was unveiled as part of a wider announcement on NHS staff pay.

The DDRB report recommends a 2.29% uplift for GMS GPs which, taking into account expenses, it says would result in a 1% net income rise.

It recommends a 1% increase for salaried GPs at both ends of their scale.

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