As part of the recommendations that it makes annually, the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Body (DDRB) publishes recommended pay ranges for salaried doctors. Unlike other recommendations that it makes, the Government does not have the ability to directly implement recommended salaried GP pay – it relies on GP Partners to do so. Consequentially, the DDRB pay range is most commonly used as the basis for pay negotiations between these GPs and their GP Partner employers.
Having carried out its own preliminary analysis, the BMA believes that the DDRB pay range should not be used for these negotiations. It does not reflect the reality of salaried GP’s pay, and instead arbitrarily suppresses remuneration of these doctors. The DDRB pay range, in effect, puts these GPs on the back-foot in negotiations, and misleads GP Partners regarding the market rate for sessional doctors.
We also know that there is a significant gender pay gap in the salaried GP workforce. Female salaried GPs make up a growing majority of the current workforce – over 70% of salaried GPs in England are female. Despite this, the mean FTE-corrected gender pay gap was 22.3% in 2020. Our contention is that a reliable, evidence-driven basis for pay ranges for sessionals would go some way to challenging the pay "ask gap" and thereby drive a reduction in this disparity. (The “ask gap” measures the extent to which women ask for lower salaries than comparable men. This is one component of a complex set of issues contributing to gender pay inequality and discrimination.)
Under the current primary care model, sessional GP pay is determined by market rates, and influenced by the DDRB pay range. However, market rates are difficult to ascertain, owing to pay varying significantly across regions, variance in individual employment arrangements, and the lack of centralised data on the pay of these GPs. As a first step toward filling this information gap, and to demonstrate that the DDRB pay range is not fit-for-purpose, the BMA has published an illustrative pay range for salaried GPs in England built on actual rates of pay. This is included alongside DDRB recommendations in the table below.
Pay ranges by nation
|Nation||Minimum £||Maximum £ †|
|England - DDRB||62,269||93,965|
England – BMA illustrative pay range*
|Scotland - DDRB||61,346||91,564|
|Northern Ireland - DDRB||63,170||95,325|
|Wales - DDRB||63,803||96,278|
It is clear that there is more to be done to determine the current pay of sessional GPs, particularly for the devolved nations. Over the coming months the BMA will conduct a comprehensive survey of sessional GPs to expand our dataset. This will in turn be used as evidence in the 2023 DDRB pay round. Further information about this survey will be made available in due course, and will be publicised in the regular sessional GP newsletters.
*BMA ran a survey of Salaried GPs in Autumn of 2020. 898 Salaried GPs responded, with 808 providing information on their salary and working hours. The illustrative pay range captures 80% of all respondents, and has been uplifted by 3% to reflect the DDRB recommended uplift for 2021/22
† There is no upper limit for sessional GPs – salary should reflect your level of responsibility, experience and qualifications.
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