Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has accepted pay review body recommendations for NHS staff and GPs, saying 'These are sensible increases, fair for staff, consistent with the Government's inflation target and affordable for the NHS.
'GP profits are estimated to have increased by more than 50 per cent since the introduction of the new GMS contract. This has come with significant improvements in the quality and range of services for patients, but I welcome that the review body has recognised that GPs are well-rewarded for the work they do.'
GPC chairman, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said: 'This is a grievous insult to GPs. A zero increase equates to a pay cut. For the second year running, not only will GPs get nothing to keep up with the cost of living, they will still have to meet all the annual increases of running their surgeries including paying their staff.
'It makes a mockery of the praise and fine words the Prime Minster has been uttering recently. Does he really think family doctors will want to deliver the government’s care closer to home agenda when they are treated like this? GPs negotiated their new contract in good faith, have worked flat out and have delivered a quality of care second to none. Patients value their family doctors – what a travesty that the state values them at nothing.'
Nurses are to receive a staged pay increase with an initial below inflation pay rise of 1.9 per cent. Unions have said that they will be consulting their members and this may lead to an industrial action ballot.
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