Consultants have criticised the Department of Health for failing to promptly apply their pay uplift for a second year in a row.
Speaking at the BMA’s consultant conference on Wednesday 02 March, Dr David Farren will propose a motion urging the Department of Health to address the ‘unacceptable delays’ in applying the pay uplift.
Doctors across Northern Ireland are still waiting to see the additional pay in their salaries despite the award being announced in August 2021.
Dr Farren, “It is simply unacceptable that seven months after the pay award was announced, hospital doctors are still waiting to receive it. These delays are extremely demoralising for doctors, who have been working in exceptionally difficult conditions and with high vacancy rates. Other health care workers have received their uplift so I cannot understand why doctors have not had their award.
“Pay awards are made every year to all healthcare staff, but consultants and other hospital doctors are always the last to be paid. In addition, many have already incurred additional tax charges because of a previous award being paid almost a year late.
“We are asking the Department to acknowledge that their delays have caused difficulties for many doctors, and that can be reversed if they admit this was an error of administration. This would ensure that previous pay awards can be allocated to the relevant year for the purpose of Pension Input Amounts and reverse these unfair charges.
“Going forward, the Department must ensure that all future pay awards are paid within three months of the DDRB’s recommendation as this will allow accurate tax returns and time for certain mitigations to be arranged if charges are incurred.
“We would also like to see the immediate introduction of pension mitigation strategies to allow consultants the ability to control the amount they pay into their pension.”
The tardiness in applying the award has also been criticised by the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body in their report they said, “the delays to the pay award process in Northern Ireland continue to be unacceptable. While the implementation of last year’s recommendations in March 2021 represents an advance on previous years, doctors and dentists in Northern Ireland had to wait eight months longer than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales to receive their pay award.
“During our visits programme, members of the remit group in Northern Ireland told us that they felt less valued by government as a result of these delays. We expect pay awards to be made in a timely fashion following the submission of our reports, and we have noted previously that this has not been happening in Northern Ireland for some time, and again this unfortunately remains the case.
“These delays undermine the credibility of the pay determination process amongst the remit group and are likely to have a negative impact on morale.”
Notes to editors
Notes for editors:
The BMA’s consultant conference will take place online on Wednesday 02 March 2022. The following motion will be proposed by Dr Farren at the conference.
Motion BY NORTHERN IRELAND CONSULTANTS COMMITTEE That this conference agrees with the DDRB in saying that delays to the pay award process in NI continue to be unacceptable, including the recent payment of two awards in one year leading to AA charges for the majority of NI consultants through maladministration of process. We call on the BMA to lobby for:
- Previous pay awards to be correctly allocated to the relevant year for the purpose of Pension Input Amounts where the pay award was delayed beyond the same tax year.
- The immediate introduction of pension mitigation strategies to allow consultants the ability to control the amount they pay into their pension.
- An assurance that all future pay awards are paid within three months of the DDRB’s recommendation, to allow accurate tax returns and time for certain mitigations to be arranged (e.g. taking unpaid leave)
Quote from: Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Forty-Ninth Report 2021