An RCN survey of nearly 1,500 GP nursing staff in England has revealed 44% received no pay rise at all for 2023/24. Overall, 77% didn’t receive the full 6% pay increase the UK government promised.
The failure to fully fund last year’s award, backdated to April 2023, has left staff feeling undervalued, with some saying they’re considering leaving the profession.
Of the small number who received a pay rise, nearly a fifth (19%) didn’t have their pay backdated to April 2023.
Nursing professionals employed by general practices don’t have the same pay, terms and conditions as their counterparts in the NHS. Employment terms are set by each practice, leaving many staff without protections beyond statutory sick pay and statutory maternity leave.
The 6% pay rise for nursing staff working in GP surgeries was announced by the UK government last July, with funds made available to practices in November and December 2023, through an increase of the Global Sum. Ahead of this, the RCN called on the government to commit to additional funding if nursing staff were left without at least 6%. The Global Sum is based on patient numbers, and some practices have raised concerns that they don’t have enough funds to cover the pay rise.
The survey findings reveal the need for immediate government intervention. The RCN has written to the health secretary and health minister to demand action and submitted evidence to the spring budget on the issue.
Patricia Marquis, RCN England Director, said: “The government should be valuing the role nursing staff in primary care play, instead of leaving them short-changed. They keep communities healthy, detecting disease early, reducing hospital admissions, and preventing more patients from ending up at A&E.
“If the government was serious about addressing waiting lists, it would immediately provide ring-fenced money to fund the full 6% pay increase it promised general practice nursing staff.
"Relations between nursing staff and the government have never been so strained.”