Senior doctors have criticised their annual pay award for failing to redress more than a decade of effective real-term cuts and attaching strings to the increase offered to staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors.
The pay rise of 2.5 per cent for consultants and 3.5 per for SAS doctors in England was announced by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock (pictured below) on the recommendation of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration.
SAS doctors will, however, only receive their recommended 3.5 per cent rise if they agreed to a new contract deal.
Until then, their pay will rise by 2.5 per cent. GPs and junior doctors in England have already agreed multi-year pay deals of on average 2 per cent a year alongside wider investment to improve their terms and conditions. The total, financial benefit of this long-term investment in the contracts of juniors and contractor GPs in England can be more than 2 per cent.
The DDRB recommended the rises after raising ‘serious concerns’ about doctor morale.
‘It appears that a long period of real-terms pay decline over the last decade is starting to have a significant negative impact,’ its report, recommending the pay rises, states.
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament the pay rise recognised ‘the hard work and dedication’ of doctors.
‘The Government takes note of the DDRB’s comments on the particular issues of morale and motivation,’ he added.
He said that investment to raise the ‘profile and attractiveness of SAS doctors' roles’ was ‘important’.
The value of national and local clinical excellence awards for consultants would be ‘frozen’, Mr Hancock told Parliament.
BMA consultants committee chair Rob Harwood (pictured below) said it was clear the Government had ‘not recognised nor rewarded the work and commitment of many experienced and senior doctors’.
‘The pay uplift does not provide any mechanism to address historic underpayments to doctors,’ he added.
‘There is also a failure to recognise the huge additional tax bills generated by annual allowance and no account has been taken of the high rate of pension contributions.
‘Many senior doctors’ income is being significantly impacted by the punitive pension taxation, so this low pay rise merely adds to the overall position of doctors being undervalued and effectively paying to go to work.’
Divide and rule
BMA staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee chair Amit Kochhar (pictured below) said he was not happy the SAS doctors' pay rise had been split.
‘The Government has not honoured the DDRB recommendation of a 3.5 per cent uplift,’ he added.
‘Why link this to contract reform? And if reform does happen how will those on old contracts benefit from the 1 per cent rise? We are not happy about the division in paying us what we were due.’
The BMA called on the DDRB and Mr Hancock this year to recognise the value of doctors in this year’s pay award following effective pay cuts of up to 30, 21 and 29 per cent for consultants, junior doctors and GPs respectively.
Read the DDRB report
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