This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs ‘disappointed’ as Scotland finalises pay uplift negotiations

by Anna Colivicchi
27 September 2023

Share this article

The Scottish Government will increase core GP funding by £60.4m but the BMA warned this is not sufficient to award a 6% uplift to GPs and staff.

In July, the Government accepted the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) recommendation for a 6% pay increase for GPs and other doctors for 2023/24, which would be backdated to 1 April. 

However, BMA Scotland has said the Government uplift to the GMS contract is ‘disappointing’ as it will be ‘insufficient’ to cover practice expenses, and this may mean GP partners do not have enough profit to award themselves the 6% pay rise. 

On Friday, the Scottish Government confirmed in writing to GPC Scotland chair Dr Andrew Buist that an uplift of £52.1m would cover the DDRB recommendations.

The letter
 said: ‘This represents a 6% increase for GP earnings, a 6.5% increase for practice staff earnings (commensurate with the average of the AfC uplift agreed this year) and 6% for other practice expenses. 

‘This will be applied as a 7.0% uplift to the Global Sum and to the Income & Expenses Guarantee which will be paid as a straight increase to all practices with no recycling.’

Dr Buist said that while this is the ‘biggest uplift in numerical terms in over 20 years’, it does not meet BMA Scotland’s asks. 

He said: ‘On the non-staff pay uplift they’ve offered 6% when CPI for the year up to end of March was running over 10%, so the implications of that are that for many practices, in order to pay for these expenses, it’ll have to come out of their pay uplift. 

‘So for some GPs they will not realise the 6% award as intended.’

He added: ‘The element for heating and lighting and other practice expenses – we think the amount put in there will be insufficient to cover that cost.

‘Now unless we turn the lights off and the heating off, practices are going to have to meet those costs, and the place that that funding will come out of will be GP profits.’

The Scottish Government has said it will write to health boards shortly to provide details of the uplift.

When the 6% uplift to GP pay was announced, the BMA, who had asked for a ‘significant’ uplift to address the risk to real-terms pay posed by high inflation, labelled the uplift ‘massively disappointing’.

The Government’s GMS uplift will also include £8.3m added to the global sum to cover the cost of population growth in 2022/23, meaning the total uplift equates to an increase of 7.2% compared to last year’s contract.