Doctors have reacted with astonishment and anger following the Government’s decision to implement wage increases below those recommended by an independent pay review.
An announcement put out today by the Treasury revealed that doctors from across all branches of practice in England are set to receive pay increases below those set out by the Doctors and Dentists Review Body report.
From October, junior doctors will see a 2 per cent increase in pay consolidated, with consultants receiving 1.5 per cent with an additional 0.5 per cent linked to CEAs (clinical excellence awards).
Meanwhile staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors will see a 3 per cent consolidated pay increase while GPs will see an increase of 2 per cent, with pay backdated to April this year.
Those in general practice could see a further 1 per cent uplifted added on from next April, provided an agreement is reached on a new GP contract.
However, pay increases for juniors, consultants and SAS doctors will not be backdated to April.
The DDRB had recommended a 2 per cent increase for juniors and consultants, and 3.5 per cent and 4 per cent increases for SAS doctors and GPs respectively.
Effect on morale
BMA representative body chair Anthea Mowat said the Government’s decisions on pay were ‘truly astonishing’ and resulted in doctors in England rightly feeling anger and disappointment.
She added that the inadequate increase in pay would further harm morale at a time when the NHS was already under huge pressure, and would see an already difficult situation go from ‘bad to worse’.
She said: ‘At a time when the NHS faces severe shortages of doctors across all specialties, it beggars belief that the ministers have failed to recognise the contribution declining pay has had on the ability to recruit and retain doctors and the significant damage to morale.
‘It is truly astonishing that the UK Government has chosen to ignore the already insufficient recommendations of its own independent pay review body and to then compound the misery that this will cause for thousands of our hard-working members and their families by refusing to backdate what will be an inadequate pay uplift. Just last week the new secretary of state for health and social care talked about how “heart breaking” it was to see how “undervalued” NHS staff feel. Considering those words, doctors in England will rightly feel anger and disappointment that sentiment has not been matched with action.'
Dr Mowat said that while aspects of the announcement, such as the pay increase for SAS doctors was long overdue, but that in the context of a decade of shrinking wages, the overall settlements on pay were “derisory”.
She said: ‘Since 2008, doctors have experienced the largest drop in earnings of all professions subject to pay review bodies, with consultants seeing a 19 per cent fall in pay, junior doctors 21 per cent and GPs 20 per cent. The effective pay uplift this year for some doctors will be as little as 0.75 per cent, which will be widely seen as derisory. Today’s announcement, coming at a time when understaffed and under-resourced hospitals and primary care services are having to manage unprecedented levels of patient demand, will only make a bad situation much worse.'
The BMA is considering its next steps and how it will further respond to today’s announcement.
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