Three quarters of practice nurses call pay inadequate

Nurses in primary care believe they are underpaid and a significant minority of those on Agenda for Change (AfC) rates are unhappy with their deal, a survey of earnings has revealed.

Most practice nurses earn between £20,000 and £30,000, while nurse practitioners receive £25,000 to £35,000, according to the survey of 335 primary and community care nurses.

Eighty-four per cent of nurse practitioners told GP's sister publication Independent Nurse that their pay did not match their responsibilities and they had not received a pay rise on gaining a prescribing qualification.

Almost three quarters of practice nurses said their pay was inadequate.

The findings will add to the furore over GPs sharing practice profits with staff, sparked last month when health secretary Patricia Hewitt called on the RCN to strike a better deal for practice nurses with the BMA (GP, 5 May).

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC deputy chairman, said every GP should be a good employer but it was up to nurses to negotiate a good deal with their practice.

Ninety-four per cent of the practice nurses surveyed and three quarters of the nurse practitioners are employed and paid by a GP practice.

The survey showed that only a small minority of GPs had implemented AfC.

Just 10 per cent of practice nurses surveyed and fewer than a third of the nurse practitioners are being paid under the new deal.

Dr Buckman supported GPs who were not paying AfC rates.

'Agenda for Change has not been funded in primary care and nurses should be being paid properly for what they do,' he said.

Feelings about AfC among nurses were mixed. Forty-one per cent of nurse practitioners and 14 per cent of practice nurses condemned it as 'a bad thing'. AfC had reduced the pay of 7 per cent of the nurses surveyed.

While most nurses preferred AfC to letting GPs set staff pay, 24 per cent of nurse practitioners and 14 per cent of practice nurses were against it.

AVERAGE PAY BANDS FOR PRACTICE STAFF

Nurse practitioner - £25,000-£35,000
Practice nurses - £20,000-£30,000

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