Poor wages mean GP surgery staff ‘forgotten people of NHS’

Receptionists and administrators in GP surgeries are not covered by NHS pay bargaining and endure very low wages. That’s according to UNISON Cymru Wales which has termed them the ‘forgotten people of the NHS’.

UNISON is calling upon Welsh government to investigate the problem of poor pay in GPs surgeries and dental surgeries and the trade union has questioned whether in some cases, money provided by health boards to surgeries and earmarked for annual pay rises, always finds its way to surgery staff.

UNISON’s pressure on the Welsh government comes as it celebrates securing significant pay rises at one GP surgery near Bridgend which will see staff wages boosted between 11 per cent and 43 (forty-three) per cent. Employees of New Street surgery, Aberkenfig, had not received a reasonable pay increase for years.

Justin Parsons, UNISON Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University healthcare branch said,

“Everyone knows how busy GP surgeries are and the staff work as hard as they can in often stressful conditions. Patients would be shocked to hear how poor the receptionists and administrators’ wages are.

“Staff at New Street surgery, Aberkenfig waited years for a decent pay rise. This year, supported by UNISON, their firm stand for fair pay succeeded in substantially boosting salaries to the level they should have been earning. We look forward to working with other GPs across the region to improve their employees’ conditions of service. Our message to GP staff is: if wages are very low, ask UNISON to help sort it out.”

Mark Turner, UNISON organiser said,

“Low pay in GP surgeries and dental surgeries in Wales is endemic. They are the forgotten people of the health service and completely undervalued. These problems would not exist if they were covered by NHS pay scales and collective bargaining. Everyone in the Welsh NHS is paid at least the Foundation Living Wage and Welsh government should ensure this is the benchmark in surgeries too.

“Over the last few years, surgery staff across Abertawe Bro Morgannwg have questioned if they have received the annual NHS pay increases. They are not clear if health board funding to GPs includes money for pay awards and then if this money is passed on to them in their wages. This is something we’d like the Cabinet Secretary for health to investigate.”


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397


Photo: Natasha Hirst