NHS consultants and specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors will receive a 2.5% pay rise backdated to April 2019, the Government has announced.
Consultants could receive a pay rise of between £1,940 and £2,630, while the pay award will be between £970 and £1,820 for specialty doctors and £1,360 and £2,250 for associate specialists, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock confirmed today.
The pay increase comes in response to the recommendations put forward in the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Body (DDRB) who raised ‘serious concern’ about morale of doctors within its remit group, adding that the results of the most recent NHS staff survey were ‘very worrying’ as they show falls in levels of job satisfaction.
However the BMA criticised the pay rise, saying that it failed to ‘address years of underpayment and low pay awards’, and stressed that consultants have seen a fall in pay of up to 30% since 2008.
Recognising consultants’ hard work
Mr Hancock confirmed the increase in Parliament today after the DDRB review said that it had seen a return to economic growth in recent years, and an increase in the level of pay settlements in the wider economy. ‘We believe that this should be reflected in the basic pay increase for our remit group,’ the review added.
Following its pledge to make the NHS the best place to work – which was set out in the NHS interim people plan – the Government said that the pay rise ‘recognises the hard work and dedication of doctors and dentists’.
However, BMA consultant committee chair Dr Rob Harwood said that the pay uplift failed to recognise or reward to work of some senior doctors and that it ‘does not provide any mechanism to address historic underpayments to doctors’.
Dr Harwood added that the pay rise – which the BMA believes is ‘somewhat better’ than last year’s, when consultants were only allocated a 1.5% pay rise – fails to consider the high tax bills generated by the annual allowance.
He said: ‘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.’
SAS doctors could potentially receive an additional 1% pay uplift, on top of the 2.5% announced today, if a new multi-year pay agreement is negotiated for this group.
The Government is looking into reforming the NHS pension scheme and has today launched a consultation on a new 50:50 option, under which doctors would halve their normal contributions towards their pension and receive half of the amount of their pension in return.