The Treasury has opened the door for GPs to receive a pay rise of above the announced 1%
The Chancellor announced in the Summer 2015 Budget that a 1% capped pay rise would be awarded to all public sector workers, including GPs, each year for the four years from 2016/17. However, Greg Hands, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has now said that the pay rise will be ‘targeted’ and ‘used to address recruitment and retention pressures’ across the public sector, which is potentially good news for GPs. The outcome of this is that some groups of public sector workers may receive more than 1% and some less than 1%.
We spoke to Scott Sanderson, Healthcare Partner at Hawsons, to discuss what the announcement could mean for GPs.
What is your initial reaction to the latest announcement?
“The reaction that a 1% pay rise will not be guaranteed after it was promised barely 2 months ago will be one of shock and anger for many groups of public sector workers. The demands on the NHS have never been greater and this announcement – which could lead to a real term reduction in pay for many in healthcare – is certainly not welcome news for the majority, who would have been expecting a 1% pay rise across the board.”
Could GPs be set for a more than 1% pay rise?
“The concerns over recruitment in general practice is well documented, particularly with a lack of new doctors coming into the sector and with so many GPs set to retire or leave general practice in the next 2-5 years the shortage of GPs is expected to increase. We recently published an article questioning whether or not, due to the recruitment pressures and looming threat of practice closures, GP succession should be a top strategic priority for practices across England – there is certainly an urgent need for action.”
“Looking at the announcement, the comments from Greg Hands could therefore indicate that GPs could be set for a higher than 1% pay rise next year, which would be welcome news after another challenging year. This may not happen of course, and GPs could actually receive less than the 1% pay rise should the Government choose to invest elsewhere in the public sector. The announcement from the Treasury lacks detail and calcification and we will have to wait for further news to see what the real impact on general practice and GPs’ pay will be.”
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