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Devolved nations award 4.5% pay rise to all GPs

by Julie Griffiths
10 August 2022

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All GPs, including GP partners, will receive a 4.5% pay rise across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but GP leaders say it is insufficient.

The pay award for GP partners in the devolved nations contrasts with their counterparts in England. There, GP partners are on a five-year deal aimed at giving them a 2% year-on-year pay rise.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the following groups of GPs will receive a 4.5% increase:

  • Independent contractor GPs;
  • Doctors in training;
  • Salaried GPs ;
  • GP trainers and GP appraisers;
  • GPs employed by Trusts and Health Boards on locally-determined contracts.

However, there is no timescale for GPs in Northern Ireland to receive their 4.5% pay rise.

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann said he accepted the recommendations made by the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) and it would be backdated to 1 April.

But he was unable to announce the immediate implementation of it because Northern Ireland still does not have an agreed Executive Budget for 2022/23.

A statement from BMA NI said the doctors’ body had written to the minister to request an urgent meeting to discuss the pay award.

GP leaders in the other devolved nations said the 4.5% pay rise did not go far enough.

BMA Scotland chair Dr Lewis Morrison said it was a ‘hugely disappointing award’ which did ‘nothing to undo years of real-term pay erosion for doctors’.

‘In the face of spiralling inflation this is still a large real-terms pay cut, which will be hugely damaging to the morale of an already exhausted and depleted workforce, after two and a half years leading our country’s response to the pandemic and the years of vacancies and escalating demand that preceded that,’ he said.

BMA Cymru Wales Council Chair, Dr David Bailey, also described the award as a pay cut and ‘a kick in the teeth for hard-working doctors in Wales’.

Dr Bailey, who is a GP from Gwent, said: ‘The timing of this pay cut could not be worse. Doctors have gone above and beyond throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to care for patients, putting themselves and their families’ lives at risk in the process.’

He added that high levels of exhaustion and burnout meant it was easy to see why doctors were leaving the NHS at an alarming rate.