Wales awards 2.8% pay rise to all GPs after 'kick in the teeth' for English counterparts

GMS funding per patient in Wales has been increased by 3.6% for 2020/21 to deliver a 2.8% pay rise for all GPs - just weeks after their counterparts in England were denied the uplift.

GP pay rise for Wales (Photo: Viktoria Rodriguez/Getty Images)
GP pay rise for Wales (Photo: Viktoria Rodriguez/Getty Images)

A deal announced by the Welsh government increases funding per patient from £91.77 to £95.07 for the current financial year, with the funding rise backdated to 1 April.

GP leaders in Wales welcomed the 'exceptional' increase, which ministers said reflected the 'dedication and commitment' of GPs and practice staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pay rise - which is intended to deliver the 2.8% uplift across all GPs and practice staff - comes just weeks after the BMA in England condemned the failure to award all GPs a similar rise in England as a 'kick in the teeth'.

GP pay rise

Under an agreement with the BMA Wales GP committee (GPC Wales), the 2.8% pay rise is guaranteed for all staff - a break from the normal approach that recommends changes to staff pay but ultimately allows individual practices to make the final decision.

The recurrrent funding increase will see charges for GPs to complete mental health and debt evidence forms removed, a new quality improvement (QI) project related to COVID-19 and a scheme to explore integration between unscheduled care and practices.

Welsh minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething said: 'This round of negotiations has been undertaken at a time of significant challenge for our NHS. Primary care has played an important role during the pandemic, with all doctors’ practices being open throughout and adapting quickly to ensure care continued.

'The offer agreed demonstrates my appreciation for the efforts of GPs and all staff working in practices. Their dedication and commitment during the COVID response has supported our communities across Wales. The new contract will now see us build on changes that have been made during the pandemic including the introduction of digital consultations and to embed new ways of working.'

COVID-19 response

GPC Wales chair Dr Phil White said: 'The contractual arrangements for 2020/21 will see GPs and their staff rewarded for the exceptional efforts they have made during this extraordinary time, and demonstrates the value placed on the role of general practice in Wales.

'The investment into the contract will enable the DDRB’s recommendation of 2.8% pay increase for contractor GPs to be met, as well as enabling the 2.8% recommendation for salaried GPs. The exceptional award also enables practices to uplift their staffing budgets by 2.8% to recognise the efforts of all practice staff.'

Dr White said the uplift recognised changes that GP practices had put in place in response to the pandemic and would help practices build on those reforms.

He added: 'I hope that the confirmation that the investment for 2020-21 into Global Sum is recurrent will go some way to alleviating concerns regarding sustainability, and will reassure General Practitioners in Wales who have been facing unprecedented demands.

'I’m particularly delighted that we have a commitment to explore how all practice staff will be able to access occupational health services which are provided by health boards and look forward to seeing this rolled out across Wales.'

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