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GP staff need funded pay rise in line with Agenda for Change offer, says IGPM

by Beth Gault
20 March 2023

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GP practice staff should receive a centrally-funded pay increase in line with the Agenda for Change offer presented to unions last week, the Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) has said.

Otherwise, practices will lose staff, the IGPM further warned.

It said in a tweet that any increase made for NHS staff also should be ‘passed on’ for general practice.

‘Any increase needs to be passed on for general practice staff too. Our staff have only had 2.1% funded for the last financial year and the same again for this year,’ said the tweet. ‘We will lose nurses, paramedics and countless other staff otherwise.’

It comes as the BMA has agreed to meet with the health secretary to discuss a pay deal for junior doctors on the ‘same terms’ as nurses and ambulance workers, according to the Government today.

Last week, Agenda for Change staff were offered a one-off payment for the 2022/23 financial year worth between £1,655 and £3,789 as well as a 5% consolidated pay increase for 2023/24 in order to end recent strike action.

Though the deal is still subject to voting, several unions have recommended it be accepted as an offer.

Funding also needed for contract requirements

IGPM has also called for more funding to fulfil the requirements of the new GP contract, some details of which were released a letter from NHS England, earlier this month. It urged the government to publish more detail as soon as possible, since practices are running out of time to plan for the changes taking effect from April.

NHS England’s letter had various stipulations about access to general practice but omitted any mention of extra funding.

In a new response to the contract, IGPM said it had urged the government and NHS England to invest in general practice.

‘Not just by moving goalposts and funding around but by providing new investment recurrently for the future to allow practices to survive and thrive,’ it said.

It added that particular funding needs to be confirmed for the requirement that practices will use cloud-telephony once their current contracts run out.

‘Cloud-based telephony is already in place in many practices across England. Where this is not the case, the main barrier our members cite is cost,’ said the IGPM.

‘This contract hints at, but does not confirm, whether there will be any financial support to enable practices to move onto a cloud-based system.’

The institute added that it was ‘perturbed’ by the suggestion that practices will only be able to procure their telephony solutions from the Better Purchasing Framework.

It said: ‘Practices are independent businesses and should have the freedom to choose who to engage in terms of suppliers. If there is a supplier that can offer a solution that meets the needs of the practice and is a cheaper option than those on the framework, how will they be prohibited from engaging with that supplier?

‘If NHS England mandates them to use a more expensive option, will NHS England support the increased cost of this?’

The body also asked for more detail on the QOF QI Module on workforce wellbeing and asked the government to ‘play its part’ by tackling anti-GP rhetoric in the media.

In addition, it called for support to be provided around the QOF QI Module on optimising demand and capacity, in the form of training, greater patient education and a campaign highlighting the greater variety of roles within GP practices, as well as the role reception staff play in ensuring patients get the right care.