General practice nurses (GPNs) in Wales are to receive a 5% pay rise, the Welsh Government has announced.
According to the British Medical Association (BMA), the pay rise will be backdated to April 2023 and the funding is expected to be released to practices in the ‘next available pay run’.
The uplift, which has been awarded to all general practice staff, is part of a £20m investment into the 2023-24 General Medical Services (GMS) contract, with negotiations between the Welsh Government, NHS Wales and the BMA’s GP Committee (GPC) for Wales now concluded.
Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Government’s minister for health and social services, said: ‘I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge my appreciation for the efforts of all staff working in general practice and their ongoing commitment to providing high-quality care.
‘I am pleased that our investment into GMS includes a 5% pay uplift for those staff.’
Ms Morgan said the £20m investment was a ‘pragmatic conclusion’ to negotiations at a time of ‘significant constraint’.
However, she also recognised that the outcome ‘does not fully resolve ongoing sustainability issues in general practice’.
Ms Morgan added: ‘We will continue to work together to take forward shared priorities over the coming year.’
A spokesperson for the BMA Wales GPC said the financial settlement did not match its ‘reasonable expectation of an uplift that would help to counter the damaging impact of soaring inflation on practice costs and staffing expenses’.
According to the BMA, it was ‘mutually decided’ to conclude negotiations, with the Welsh Government’s maximum available financial offer of £20m being invested with ‘no associated contractual changes’.
The spokesperson added: ’Whilst our position remains unchanged and we still have not reached a contractual agreement, it is clear that the impasse since the conclusion of negotiations cannot continue indefinitely.’
The £20m investment by the Welsh Government represents 4.4% of the GMS Contract value of £450m.
‘We are under no illusions that this will address the financial challenges faced by practices, but this pragmatic outcome will avoid further uncertainties and delays for GPs and their staff,’ the BMA spokesperson said.
The news of the GPN pay increase follows concerns raised by Dr Gareth Oelmann, chair of the BMA’s Welsh GPC, that practice nurses and their colleagues had been wrongly ‘kept waiting for a fair pay uplift’ following a breakdown in negotiations.
The BMA also warned last month that many GP practices in Wales were concerned about their ability to employ nurses because they were ‘unable to offer competitive wages’.