The Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething has today announced that all doctors, nurses and staff working within GP practices will receive a 2.8% pay uplift.
Wales is the first nation to take this new approach following a new agreement with GPC Wales. Previously it was down to individual practice employers to oversee staff pay increases.
The new agreement for General Medical Services will see funding per patient rise from £91.77 to £95.07, which is more than is offered in England.
It has also been agreed to remove the charge to patients for the completion of a Mental Health and Debt Evidence Form by a healthcare professional. This will support vulnerable patients whose lenders require the completion of the form.
The new contract builds on the significant changes seen in 2019-20, further progressing the aims of A Healthier Wales and will retain the positive changes seen as a result of Covid-19, such as the offer of remote consultations.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said:
This round of negotiations has been undertaken at a time of significant challenge for our NHS. Primary Care has played an important role during the pandemic, with all doctors’ practices being open throughout and adapting quickly to ensure care continued.
The offer agreed demonstrates my appreciation for the efforts of GPs and all staff working in practices. Their dedication and commitment during the COVID response has supported our communities across Wales. The new contract will now see us build on changes that have been made during the pandemic including the introduction of digital consultations and to embed new ways of working.
Dr Phil White, Chair of the BMA’s Welsh GP Committee (GPC Wales) said:
Our collaborative working relationship with Welsh Government and NHS Wales has resulted in a set of positive outcomes for GPs in Wales.
The contractual arrangements for 2020-21 will see GPs and their staff rewarded for the exceptional efforts they have made during this extraordinary time, and demonstrates the value placed on the role of General Practice in Wales. The investment into the contract will enable the DDRB’s recommendation of 2.8% pay increase for contractor GPs to be met, as well as enabling the 2.8% recommendation for salaried GPs. The exceptional award also enables practices to uplift their staffing budgets by 2.8% to recognise the efforts of all practice staff.
The changes that GPs have embedded during COVID-19 are recognised, and we have agreed to the introduction of a new QI project related to COVID-19 learning building on work many practices and clusters have already started, with a focus on planning for urgent care. We have also agreed to undertake work to improve the patient journey by exploring integration between unscheduled care and practices, while preserving the clinical judgement of GPs.
I hope that the confirmation that the investment for 2020-21 into Global Sum is recurrent will go some way to alleviating concerns regarding sustainability, and will reassure General Practitioners in Wales who have been facing unprecedented demands.
I’m particularly delighted that we have a commitment to explore how all practice staff will be able to access Occupational Health services which are provided by Health Boards and look forward to seeing this rolled out across Wales.
Judith Paget, Chief Executive, Aneurin Bevan Health Board
We are pleased to have reached this agreement as part of the tripartite approach to delivery of primary care services in Wales. The agreement recognises the hard work and commitment of our GPs, and creates a platform to build on the positive changes implemented in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The commitment to reward practice staff with a 2.8% pay uplift, the same level as GPs, is a real positive, and rewards the efforts of every member of the workforce in general practice.
The wider agreements within the contract will enable health boards to work closely with General Practice to develop and improve the service in a way that benefits patients at a time of great change, through a commitment to strengthened cluster working.