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Total ARRS budget will not account for Agenda for Change uplift

by Jess Hacker
14 June 2023

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Reimbursements under the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) will be uplifted to match the Agenda for Change pay increase, but with no overall change to the total funding available, NHS England has confirmed.

The uplift means PCNs will be able to pay current staff more at the risk of having less money to hire further roles, with clinical directors suggesting they will need to revise their recruitment plans.

It comes after the Government offered a 5% consolidated increase in pay, worth at least £1,065, for Agenda for Change staff in March following talks with striking health unions.

In an update to the PCN DES service specification for 2023/24, NHS England has now confirmed it will increase the maximum reimbursable rates from 1 July 2023 in line with the March pay offer (see box below).

But the uplift will ‘not affect the overall value of a PCN’s overall Additional Roles Reimbursement Sum’, it warned.

Top five most hired ARRSRembursable amount before upliftReimburseable amount after uplift
Clinical pharmacists£59,312£62,340
Care coordinators£31,746£33,396
Social prescribing link workers£38,187£40,159
Pharmacy technicians£38,187£40,159
First contact physiotherapists£59,312£62,340
These figures do not include the inner or outer-High Cost Area Supplement (HCAS). Source: NHS England.

Dr Laura Mount, clinical director for Central and West Warrington PCN, said that the failure to lift the total available funding will mean the PCN has scrapped plans to hire further roles.

‘We can pay people more but only from the same budget. This has also happened in previous years but with this year’s being 5%, we will need to revise recruitment plans as it’s a big chunk of the budget. We have decided against recruiting a mental health occupational therapist because of this,’ she said.

Dr Mount was also concerned that practices struggling to offer staff a 5% pay rise will lead to a discrepancy in uplifts between primary care’s ARRS staff and those employed by trusts.

Meanwhile, the 2023/24 Ready Reckoner that can be used by GMS practices and PCNs to provide an indication of the changes in income streams that may affect them has also been updated.

The ready reckoner is produced jointly by NHS England and the BMA’s GP Committee.

A version of this story first appeared on our sister title Pulse PCN