Welsh GP practices will receive a 4.4% funding uplift backdated to April last year, as contract negotiations end without agreement.
The talks between the BMA’s GP Committee for Wales, the Welsh Government and NHS Wales broke down in October last year. However, the parties have now ‘mutually decided’ to end negotiations despite being unable to reach an agreement.
- A total of £20m will be invested by the Government into the GMS contract for 2023/24 – 4.4% of the GMS contract value of £450m – and there will be no associated contractual changes.
- The funding will be released to practices in the next available pay run. This includes a 5% uplift to pay for all general practice staff which will be backdated to April 2023.
GPC Wales chair Dr Gareth Oelmann said in an update to GPs: ‘Whilst our position remains unchanged and we have not reached a contractual agreement, the impasse since the conclusion of negotiations could not continue indefinitely, which is why we have mutually decided to conclude negotiations for this year.
‘Our position remains clear that this quantum of money is sub-inflationary, inadequate in terms of unavoidable expense pressures, and does not meet the recommendations of the DDRB.
‘We are under no illusions that this will address the financial challenges faced by practices, but this pragmatic outcome will avoid further uncertainties and delays for GPs and their staff.’
It follows warnings from the Welsh Government that the pay offer that was on the table was at risk of being withdrawn to ‘offset other deficits’.
Minister for health and social services Eluned Morgan said: ‘I welcome the pragmatic conclusion which will see £20m invested into GMS at a time of significant financial constraint, while recognising that the outcome this year does not fully resolve ongoing sustainability issues in general practice. We will continue to work together to take forward shared priorities over the coming year.
‘GPC Wales has clearly outlined the challenges faced in our recent discussions. I recognise the issues highlighted will not be resolved through a single year of investment alone. It is crucial that we work together, with NHS Wales and GPC Wales to find solutions.’
Last month, Ms Morgan said it would be ‘extremely difficult’ for the Welsh Government to find any additional funding for struggling GPs.
Last year, a report commissioned by the Welsh Government predicted a ‘persistent shortfall’ of full-time equivalent GPs in the next 10 years, with one in two GP roles potentially vacant by 2031.
A version of this story first appeared on our sister publication Pulse.