GPs won't receive a pay rise until after 2012, but can award pay increases to lower-earning employees

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An employment agreement for general practitioners means no increase to their pay, but will allow them to give pay rises to their staff.

The NHS Employers organisation, on behalf of the Health Departments in England, Scotland and Wales and the BMA's General Practitioners Committee (GPC) have reached agreement on changes to the 2011/12 General Medical Services (GMS) contract in England, Scotland and Wales.

The agreement stipulates no increase to GPs' pay in 2011/12, which is line with the Government's policy on public sector pay. For 2011/12 the overall value of contract payments to GP practices will increase by 0.5%. This is intended to help practices meet the costs of increased expenses, in particular to give pay increases of £250 for employed staff who earn the equivalent of a full time salary of under £21,000 per year.

Other changes include, for England, extending the arrangement for longer opening hours of GP practices by one year to 31 March 2012. The package of changes agreed for 2011/12 has been designed to focus on delivering improvements in primary medical care that will secure the provision of better care for patients and more effective use of NHS resources. NHS Employers negotiator Stephen Golledge today welcomed the package of changes, saying it would help secure better quality care for patients and better value for money for the NHS.

He said: "This agreement immediately delivers efficiency savings in excess of 4%, which is in line with what is being required from the rest of the NHS.

"However, if the new Improving Quality and Productivity in the NHS scheme takes hold in the way we hope, our calculations suggest that if all practices can mirror the same level of performance as the top 25% of practices in the way they refer patients to consultants, manage emergency admissions and prescribe, this would generate further savings of up to £800 million a year. These savings could be made available to fund other aspects of patient care, which can only be good news for patients, as well as good news for the taxpayer." The BMA's GPC Committee chairman, Laurence Buckman, added: "Given the state of the public finances GPs, like other doctors, were not expecting a pay rise, but we are pleased the government has recognised the need to increase practice expenses so that GPs can honour the commitment made to our lower paid staff."

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Helen Giles

Helen Giles, executive director of HR, St Mungo’s Broadway

Helen Giles is executive director of HR for homelessness charity St Mungo’s Broadway and managing director of Real People, a social enterprise HR consultancy. She has been on the HR Most Influential list since is started and is voted on one of the HR Most Influential Practitioners of the Decade. Giles was awarded an MBE in 2008 for her services to homeless people.

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