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Pay rise above 2% for GPNs risks ‘further pressure’ on NHS budget

Pay rise above 2% for GPNs risks ‘further pressure’ on NHS budget

NHS England has warned against a pay increase above 2% for general practice nurses (GPNs) and other practice staff this year.

In its evidence to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists Remuneration (DDRB), NHS England advised that any pay awards higher than the funding settlement from the Treasury will ‘put further pressure’ on the NHS budget.

This could impact on ‘staffing numbers’ and delivery of NHS activity or ‘service improvements’, the national commissioner warned.

The submission stated that within the NHS settlement, ‘funding is available for a pay uplift of 2% for contractor GPs, salaried GPs and other salaried practice staff’.

Since this evidence was submitted to the DDRB in February, NHS England and the government have imposed a new GP contract for 2024/25 which increased funding by 2.23%.

Our sister title Pulse revealed earlier this year that the government will reconsider its GP funding uplift once the DDRB makes a recommendation on pay, but it is not obliged to accept it in full.

This is the first time in five years that the DDRB has been asked to give a recommendation on GP partner pay following the 2019 five-year GP contract deal that had aimed for a 2% year-on-year pay increase.

In its evidence to the pay review body, NHSE said: ‘Pay awards that are higher than the levels contained in the funding settlement, if not supported by additional funding from government, will put further pressure on the NHS budget given the existing funding pressures.

‘This could impact on staffing numbers and the ability to deliver planned activity or service improvements.’

In 2023/24, the DDRB recommended that GPNs and other salaried practice staff should receive at least a 6% increase – to which the government agreed.

However, it was revealed earlier this year that more than three-quarters of GPNs did not receive the full 6% and almost half received no pay rise at all for 2023/24.

The Royal College of Nursing said recently that it was ‘seeking a change’ to the funding model used to uplift the pay of employed general practice staff amid concerns over the complex formula – called the global sum – that is currently used.

The global sum allocates funding per patients, based on various factors including demographics, and it became clear last year that this meant some practices would not receive enough additional funding to cover the rise, while others could get more than they need.

Separately, NHS England has this week published its evidence to the NHS pay review body – in which it also suggested that a pay award for NHS staff higher than 2% risked putting ‘further pressure’ on the health service’s budget.

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