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Fears over regional ‘inequity’ in GP nurse pay rises

Health unions have aired concerns over some primary care nurses receiving smaller pay rises than others – or none at all – despite much-delayed funding for GP practice staff pay rises finally being confirmed.

GP employers in England have been told they will receive additional funding to cover a 6% pay rise for their staff announced earlier this year by the UK Government.

“We encourage employers to use this increase in funding as the opportunity to invest in their staff”

Joint statement from RCN and BMA

This additional money is now due to arrive in the budgets of practices via the Global Sum formula allocation – used to distribute GP surgery funding – by November.

However, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and British Medical Association (BMA)’s primary care wing have together said not only does the 6% rise itself “not go far enough” to address pay issues among primary care nurses – but that there is still no guarantee all staff will receive it.

This is due to the varied nature of funding for GPs, which uses a model known as the Carr-Hill formula to decide how much an individual practice will get. The surgeries, which are independent of the NHS, are then left to organise and administer pay uplifts by themselves.

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The funding allocation is based on patient numbers per surgey as well as a list of other localised factors including, but not limited to, average age of the population, additional needs, staff, market forces, rurality and sex split in the area.

As a result, practices of equal sizes may not receive the same funding; one practice might have more than enough to implement the promised 6% rise where another might not.

The RCN and BMA’s General Practitioners Committee England (GPCE), this week, announced they are “demanding” that all GP employers ensure staff, including primary care nurses, receive the rise and are encouraging staff to contact them if they fear they will miss out.

A joint statement by the unions said: “We encourage employers to use this increase in funding as the opportunity to invest in their staff.

“The RCN and GPCE welcome a pay uplift for general practice staff, announced earlier this year by the Westminster government.

“However, they recognise that this announcement does not go far enough to address the impact of the current cost-of-living crisis and workforce attrition across general practice, including in the disparity between nurses and other general practice staff employment terms compared to other parts of the NHS.

“It is well understood that nurses in general practice play a fundamental role in health promotion and prevention.

“Their role is essential to the provision of safe and effective care. Fair pay and attractive working conditions for all salaried staff are vital to secure and maintain the future of general practice.”

The unions are asking members to request their employers are “transparent” about the funding they have received to pay for staff uplifts, and, if dissatisfied with the pay rise they have been offered, to ask them what calculations have been done to determine it.

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The statement added: “The way the expenses uplift is applied leads to some inequity amongst GP practices.

“Some practices will not receive enough additional funding to cover an entire 6% uplift for all salaried staff members, whereas others will in fact get more than they need to do so.”

RCN said, if staff are told they will not receive any uplift in pay, it will support them in raising this with employers.

Patricia Marquis, RCN director for England, added: “You deserve to receive fair pay, and it’s important we understand the full details of this provision and its funding to support you to access every additional penny you should receive.”

The RCN and GPCE further said they will continue to work together to ensure fully-funded and “fairer” terms for general practice nurses in the future.

They added: “Securing recurrent pay uplifts for all practice staff is vital for the future success of general practice.”

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