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Nurses urged to join GP funding ‘discussion’ in BMA campaign

Nurses urged to join GP funding ‘discussion’ in BMA campaign

The British Medical Association (BMA) has urged practice nurses to be part of the ‘discussion’ and ‘solution’ in its campaign for improved funding for general practice.

General practice nurses (GPNs) are being encouraged to attend the BMA’s upcoming ‘roadshows’ over the next month, to better understand how GP practices could be affected by potential ‘collective action’ following concerns about the 2024/25 GP contract.

GP partners are currently being urged to vote ‘yes’ to collective action in a BMA ballot that opened this week.

As revealed by our sister title Pulse, examples of such action include refusing to engage in advice and guidance, seeing patients ‘face to face as a default’, and switching off the GP connect functionality which permits remote NHS 111 appointment booking.

The union is currently planning for potential GP collective action to commence on 1 August, depending on the result of the ballot which will close on Monday 29 July.

Amid the ballot and as part of the BMA’s campaign to Protect Your Patients, Protect Your Practice, the union is running a series of roadshow events across England, hosted by regional local medical committee leaders.

The events, which are running until 15 July, are open to all practice nurses, practice managers, GP contractors/partners, salaried GPs and GP registrars. BMA membership is not required to attend.

Roadshow attendees will be updated on what has changed under the 2024-25 imposed GP contract – which increased funding for general practice by 2.23% – and will hear more about the referendum in which BMA members rejected that contract.

Key speakers will include Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of the BMA General Practitioners Committee for England (GPCE), and Julius Parker, Samira Anane and David Wrigley, all GPCE deputy chairs.

Information will also be given on the BMA’s non-statutory ballot for collective action, including the timings, the options and the plan for action.

Outlining why practice nurses should attend the upcoming events, Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, chair of GPC England, said: ‘The whole general practice team needs to pull together to protect our patients and our practices.

‘The roadshow is not just for partners but for practice nurses, practice managers and salaried GPs/GP registrars too, who will be delivering the action alongside the partners.’

She described how nurses who attend the events will be given the chance to ‘ask us questions and be part of the discussion’.

‘They need to be part of the solution to uplift the contract to uplift their pay,’ she added.

As reported earlier this year, NHS England has warned against a pay increase above 2% for GPNs and other practice staff this year.

Meanwhile, figures from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) suggest almost half of GP nursing staff in England went without a pay rise in 2023/24.

Last October, the RCN and BMA pledged to work together to ensure ‘fully funded fairer terms’ for nurses working in general practice.

And in February, the RCN announced that it was working to ‘find allies’ across primary care as part of its ongoing campaign to secure better pay for GPNs in England.

This week, executive director of RCN England Patricia Marquis told Nursing in Practice the college had been ‘working closely with the BMA to raise the issue of funding for general practice, particularly in relation to nurse pay, terms and conditions’.

She said the BMA roadshow events ‘offer an opportunity for RCN members to understand the next steps BMA GP members will take in their dispute to escalate their concerns about primary care funding and the impact inadequate funding is having on staff and patients’.

‘Participating in these events means GPNs can stay informed, influence what is happening locally within their practice, and support the continued campaign for a fair and sustainable funding approach for general practice,’ she added.

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