This site is intended for health professionals only

Practice nurses “at mercy” of employer for appropriate pay

General practice nurses (GPNs) are “at the mercy of their GPs and practice manager” in terms of pay, and a benchmarking exercise may need to be carried out to reduce pay variation, a major new survey revealed.

More than 3,400 general practice nurses completed the online survey in 2015, and only 35% felt that their salary reflected their role within the practice.

“GPNs are at the mercy of their GPs and employers, which means there is a lot of variation in pay, training, holiday, sick pay, indemnity cover etc,” one nurse stated in the report, recommending that “some sort of standardisation should be introduced and GP's/practice managers should be put under pressure/encouraged to follow these standards with negative consequences if they don't.”

Some nurses commented that they have an hourly rate, ranging between £14.60 and £22 and one clinical nurse manager received £15 an hour despite being responsible for all clinical areas including infection control, health and safety, policies with the practice, purchasing, education, invoicing and claims for enhanced services.

QNI also confirmed that the role of the practice nurse is “expanding rapidly” and “many of today's nurses are now undertaking roles traditionally the reserve of GPs,” Oldman added.

A third of GPNs are independent prescribers (32%), nearly 40% indicated that they undertook visits to patients at home, and one-in-ten hold an NMC recordable specialist practice qualification in general practice nursing.

Respondents were asked if they had increments applied to their salary based on their performance. The large majority, representing 81.5%, responded negatively.

Despite taking on more responsibility, one-in-five (22%) practice nurses have two jobs, a third reported working evening sessions (after 6pm) and nearly one-in-five work weekends (19%).

Oldman advised that the survey would be useful to policy makers and workforce planners and can “indicate some major challenges and opportunities which need to be addressed.” 

See the full report here