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March 2024

GPNs excluded from one-off payments to healthcare staff

Tens of thousands of staff at non-NHS organisations including community nurses, physiotherapists and cleaners will soon receive two one-off payments – but general practice nurses are not included in the deal

The government will provide funding for over 27,000 more healthcare workers in England to receive two one-off payments, worth at least £1,655 and up to £3,000.

Community nurses, sexual health workers, speech-and-language therapists, physiotherapists, and other crucial frontline workers are all set to benefit. Organisations will receive funding for these payments over the coming months.

Forming part of the wider NHS pay deal, one of the payments was specifically intended to recognise the sustained pressure facing the health service and the extraordinary effort staff have made to cut waiting lists.

Retaining talented staff is central to the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, and the government recognises ‘the vital role played by staff in non-NHS organisations to support patients and the wider health service’.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: ‘I hugely value the hard work of all our healthcare staff, and those working in non-NHS organisations offer vital support to patients.’

Last year, more than one million NHS staff on the Agenda for Change contract – which includes nurses, paramedics, 999 call handlers, midwives, security guards and cleaners – received two one-off payments alongside a 5% pay rise.

These payments originally only applied to those directly employed by NHS organisations. In November, the government launched a scheme to provide non-NHS organisations with funding to cover the cost of the one-off payments for their eligible staff on this occasion.

The payments will be provided to organisations that deliver NHS and Public Health Grant services that employ their staff on dynamically linked Agenda for Change contracts.

A statement from the Department of Health and Social services confirmed: ‘As private contractors, general practices set their own terms and conditions. Whilst many choose to mimic Agenda for Change pay scales, this does not always result in dynamically linked Agenda for Change contracts, which was a requirement for the funding. Some general practices would therefore have been eligible for the funding and some would not.’

The Royal College of Nursing states: ‘GP nursing staff play an essential role in delivering NHS services, but many of them still aren’t receiving the fair pay they deserve. We're campaigning to change that.’

And following the inability of some practices to provide the full 6% pay award promised to all salaried staff in general practice, including practice nurses, the RCN said:  ‘The inconsistencies in how staff have received this pay increase demonstrate how poorly the current funding model is serving general practice nursing staff. Not paying the promised pay award has left staff feeling undervalued and undermined.

‘We’re calling for the government to properly fund this pay increase so that all general practice nursing staff receive the pay rise they deserve.

'We’re writing to Local Medical Committees (LMC) calling on their support and working closely with the British Medical Association to collectively respond to this issue.’

Practice Nurse 2024;54(2): online only