The General Practitioners Committee (GPC) is set to push for GP pay rises of several percent, despite the Treasury introducing a one percent cap for all public sector pay rises.
Furthermore, the previous health secretary, Andrew Lansley, wrote to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB), telling its members that there was no need to submit pay recommendations for GPs from 2013-14.
This reverses a previous agreement under which the freeze on the independent pay review process by the DDRB was set to be lifted for 2013-14. This was initially implemented in 2010 following the public sector pay freeze.
While Mr Lansley said there was a “well-established basis” for the one percent pay rise, the “final decisions on the overall gross uplifts” will be made following talks with the GPC.
The Committee insists that the pay rise is required to combat rising practice costs, which have not been matched by rises in practice funding for a number of years.
“The government has to recognise that general practice has not been recompensated for rising expenses for years,” said GPC negotiator Dr Chand Nagpaul.
“There is no point talking about an uplift before there is funding for expenses. It would just be a small offset. GPs would still experience a pay cut,” he added.
“If hospital doctors receive a one percent net increase, the only way GPs can have the same is if expenses are recompensated. I can’t give an exact figure but it would certainly need to be several percent.”
However, BMA council member Dr Robert Morley said the funding to practices would need to increase by five to ten percent in order to achieve a one percent pay rise, which he couldn’t imagine the government agreeing to.
Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, the expenses of GP practices are likely to rise even further with Primary Care Trust (PCT) managers increasingly not reimbursing practices for the costs of disposing of trade waste.