Overworked and underpaid - junior doctors can't go on like this.
The last two years have been far from ordinary for anyone working in the NHS and junior doctors have made both an enormous contribution and a significant sacrifice. The effects on their wellbeing are likely to be felt for years to come, whilst tackling the daunting backlog of treatment for patients.
And yet none of this is recognised by the government, who by refusing an enhanced uplift, are simply further eroding junior doctors' pay.
Junior doctor pay
Junior doctors in England are guaranteed at least a 2% pay rise in 2022/23, as part of the multi-year pay deal agreed in 2019. This contract also brought an additional £90 million investment and many significant improvements on the 2016 contract.
From the BMA perspective, the deal provided a guarantee of annual uplifts that were higher than those seen since 2008, in the context of an uncertain time due to the potential impacts of an impending Brexit. 82% of junior doctor members who voted in the referendum on the new contract, agreed to accept them.
However, the contract was agreed before the pandemic started and when inflation was below 2%. The BMA has calculated that the estimated take-home pay for the average junior doctor in England has declined by 22.4% in real terms (RPI) between 2008/09 and 2020/21, taking into account estimated tax and pension contribution changes.
Addressing pay erosion
In January 2021, the BMA submitted evidence to the DDRB, the body that recommends pay for doctors.
Our key asks for 2021 were:
- A significant and early pay award, that is much higher than the retail price index and will go some way to closing the real terms pay erosion that doctors have faced over the past decade.
- Recognition that all doctors, including doctors who had previously agreed multi-year pay deals, have gone to extreme lengths to tackle the pandemic and that they should be rewarded as such.
At the 2021 junior doctor conference on 8 May a motion was passed calling on the BMA to lobby all the government for a 15% pay award for junior doctors, and the BMA campaigned for fairer pay for all doctors through summer 2021.
The government ignores junior doctors
Despite the thousands of junior doctors and members of the public who wrote to their local MP supporting our call for a fair and significant pay rise for junior doctors, the Government chose to exclude junior doctors from the full 3% pay uplift announced last July.
In refusing to award the additional 1% to junior doctors above their multi-year pay deal, ministers have shown complete disregard for the enormous contributions of junior doctors over the last 18 months and further eroded your pay.
This is an extraordinary insult to the work of junior doctors in England. 6000 responded to our pay survey last August, with 96% telling us the pay uplift was either completely unacceptable, and 93% telling us this was affecting their morale. The vast majority (93%) blamed the government.
At the ARM (annual representatives meeting) in September the 15% pay demand was further endorsed and through autumn 2021 the junior doctor committee met with the government to express our disappointment.
Campaigning in 2022
Since early 2022, the JDC (junior doctors committee) has been escalating our campaign on pay to challenge the government to make a fair pay award for junior doctors this year that addresses the long term pay erosion our members have faced.
JDC also made the decision to withdraw from the DDRB process this year for junior doctors in England in response to concerns over the body’s effectiveness and independence from Government.
Join our campaign
We're currently looking for members to get involved in the JDC campaign - organising local events and helping other doctors in their region understand the impact on their pay.
Download a range of infographics for our junior doctor pay campaign, easily shareable for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
If you weren’t able to attend the activist webinar on junior doctor pay, you can watch it back here.
The webinar was split in to two small recordings – one on the history that led up to the multi-year pay deal and JDC’s current stance, and the other on how you can spread the word and help build a movement.
BMA members - sign in to view the activist webinars