Doctors efforts and sacrifices during Covid-19 pandemic deserve recognition, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Tuesday 15 September 2020

The British Medical Association today says that doctors deserve recognition of the personal sacrifices made and risks taken during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting1, delegates voted through a motion which commended the “flexibility shown by doctors and healthcare staff in very difficult circumstances” and called for doctors to be adequately remunerated and rewarded for the work undertaken during the pandemic.

Dr Trevor Pickersgill, BMA treasurer, said:

“Doctors have spent the last six months going above and beyond, caring for patients in the most challenging circumstances as they tackle the pandemic on the front line – often putting themselves at risk in the process. They have worked excessive hours, often in unfamiliar settings, and even in specialties they have never worked in before or not for many years, demonstrating their commitment to their patients and the NHS they have dedicated their lives to.

“Much of this has relied on doctors’ good will and deep sense of duty, with the acceptance that these were unprecedented times that required ‘all hands on deck’. However, this cannot last forever, and as the BMA was clear from the outset of this crisis, emergency measures to redeploy staff and alter working patterns must only be in place as long as is strictly necessary.

“Following months of working under such intense conditions, doctors deserve recognition of the individual sacrifices they have made and risks they have taken, saving the lives of patients and preventing the NHS becoming overwhelmed. Indeed, even the DDRB, which makes a recommendation for doctors’ pay each year, urged the Government to consider ‘an additional recognition’ to acknowledge doctors’ contributions in recent months. While this year’s pay award may have fell short, the BMA will continue to campaign and lobby on behalf of doctors for a proper reward for their efforts during the pandemic.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. Full information about ARM at bma.org.uk/arm2020
  2. The full wording of the motion is as below.

PRIORITISED MOTION 6 - PASSED IN FULL

Motion by THE AGENDA COMMITTEE (TO BE PROPOSED BY SOUTH CENTRAL REGIONAL COUNCIL):

That this meeting commends the commitment and flexibility shown by doctors and healthcare staff in very difficult circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have worked outside their specialties, worked additional hours, and worked at increased risk to their health. This meeting mandates council and the branch of practice committees to pursue policies to:-

i) ensure that temporary changes to job plans, working patterns and deployments cease with a return to pre-COVID-19 contractual requirements and job plans;

ii) ensure that all doctors are adequately remunerated for additional work done during the COVID-19 pandemic;

iii) ensure that no long-term changes to job plans or contracts can be imposed without proper negotiations with local, branch of practice or national negotiating committees;

iv) ensure that an additional reward is made to all healthcare staff to reflect the personal sacrifices and increase in risk to health made during this pandemic.