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IGPM to work with BMA to ensure contract negotiations prioritise discussions on staff pay

by Rima Evans
24 November 2023

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The Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) has said it is working with the BMA’s GP Committee to ensure funding issues around staff pay and GP premises are raised at the next round of contract negotiations as a matter of ‘high importance’.

In a response to this week’s Autumn Statement, the IGPM said practices have been ‘thrown under the bus’ by the Chancellor, with no mention of new funding needed to upgrade premises or keep pace with pay growth.

In particular, it has warned that the previous increases in the minimum wage together with the 2024 one announced by Jeremy Hunt and DDRB-recommended pay rises – is ‘crippling’ practice incomes. Without extra money to cover these costs, the IGPM said, it feared ‘many partners will start to hand back their contracts’ leaving potentially hundreds of thousands of patients in the country without a GP practice.

Meanwhile, no announcement on investment to improve GP estates was ‘disappointing’, it said, and leaves practices in ‘limbo with regards to the ability to house the ever-expanding multi-disciplinary team that is encompassed in general practice.’

Then IGPM response, written by Mike Neville, IGPM national lead for England North said: ‘As always, it seems the public sector has been thrown under the  bus – specifically GP practices.’

He said that not only is the body working with the GPC to ensure discussions around investment into ‘people and estates’ are treated with high importance during the next GP contract negotiations, it is also encouraging its members to raise concerns about lack of funding with their LMC and MP.

The IGPM response went on to highlight that:

  • Since March 2019 the National Living wage has been increased by 46%. However, funding for staffing in general practice has only risen by 16.52%.
  • Since 2008, the average partner income has decreased upwards of 15% (with inflation taken into account), eroding their good will in going beyond their hours to support general practice
  • Current level of funding means practices are unable to match wages paid to Agenda for Change staff, making it hard to retain non-clinical staff and contributing to a recruitment crisis of support teams and those in management roles.

Mr Neville stressed that the IGPM welcomed staff on minimum wage ‘getting the pay they deserve ’ and that the ‘hard work and commitment of salaried staff in GP practices should be rewarded’. However, he added, these extra costs need to be centrally funded.

‘It is imperative that the funding for core general practice is increased to levels that are not only sustainable to at least match the ever-increasing expenditure items, including staff wages, but also to levels which allow partnerships to be attractive enough for people to feel that all of their goodwill is worth it.’