Practice nurses have been handling a greater proportion of work at GP surgeries but have not received pay increases to reward their contributions, according to a report.
The National Audit Office’s report, NHS Pay Modernisation: New Contracts for General Practice Services in England, showed practice nurses were doing 34% of consultations in 2006, compared with 21% in 1995.
But the report said: ‘Practice nurses and salaried GPs, who form part of the practice team, have not benefited to the same extent with pay rises in line or indeed below inflation.’
‘In the focus groups carried out with approximately 100 practitioners in London, the NAO found nurses’ morale is being affected by the new contract.’
In response to the report, Unison called for practice nurses to receive pay rises in line with nurses on Agenda for Change contracts.
Karen Jennings, Unison head of health, said: ‘It’s clear from the NAO report that while GP’s pay has risen dramatically, nurses and other practice staff have seen an increase in their workload without an increase in reward.
‘UNISON is calling on the BMA to recommend to its members a minimum of Agenda for Change for all staff including nurses, practice managers and receptionists.
Peter Carter, RCN general secretary, said: ‘With only 16% of GPs signed up to Agenda for Change (AfC), we reiterate our call for all GPs to introduce a fairer system of pay by implementing AfC.’