Health board staff to be paid by GPs

GPs in Northern Ireland are furious after being asked to pay back-dated Agenda for Change (AfC) money for staff employed by health boards that work on their premises.

According to the GPC in Northern Ireland, a number of practices have been asked by health board to cover the cost of AfC pay even though the practice-based staff involved are not employed by GPs.

Northern Ireland GPC vice-chairman Dr Tom Black said: 'You would think that they couldn't do that, but some trusts are approaching practices and now the situation doesn't look so clear. We want some kind of clarification surrounding trust staff working in practices.'

Dr Black said that in addition to clarification from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), the GPC is reiterating its demands for additional funding to ensure that practice-employed staff can be moved to AfC terms and conditions.

The DHSSPS has already made £100 million available to trusts to cover AfC costs and the Northern Ireland GPC wants to see this made available to practices as well.

'Some have already moved staff to AfC but many others haven't because they can't afford to and extra funding has not been made available to them,' Dr Black added.

A letter to GPs from Northern Ireland GPC chairman Dr Brian Dunn said implementation of AfC terms and conditions was not mandatory for staff employed by GP practices.

It explained that practices that house health board staff were not responsible for increasing their pay.

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