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Nine out of 10 doctors consider Government pay rise ‘unacceptable’

Nine out of 10 doctors consider Government pay rise ‘unacceptable’
By Léa Legraien Reporter
8 August 2018

Nine out of 10 doctors believe the latest Government pay rise is unacceptable, a poll has found.

A recent BMA survey of 12,717 doctors revealed that the Government’s pay settlement – under which consultants will get a 1.5% increase, specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors 3% and junior doctors 2% from October – is insufficient.

Responding to the findings, a Department of Health and Social Care (DHCS) spokesperson told Healthcare Leader: ‘We value our hardworking doctors and they have all seen significant pay rises since the introduction of the new contract last year.

‘The government has accepted the independent pay review body’s recommendation of a further 2% increase – the largest pay rise in ten years.’

‘Wake-up call’

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the findings should be a ‘wake-up call’ for the Government.

He added: ‘They have seriously misjudged the mood of the profession with what is another sub-inflationary pay award.

‘Since 2008, doctors have experienced the largest drop in earnings of all professions subject to pay review bodies, with consultants seeing a 19% fall in pay, junior doctors 21% and GPs 20%.

‘With the NHS facing severe shortages of doctors across all specialities, it is more important than ever that the Government recognises the contribution declining pay has had on the ability to recruit and detain doctors and takes steps to reverse this.’

According to the DHSC, the total earnings for doctors in their first year increased by 5.4% (£1,716) while those for doctors in core training rose by 4.3% (£2,024) between September 2016 and September 2017.

Low morale

The survey also revealed that 84% of doctors found their morale had worsened following the offer, while 88% said they felt their value as NHS staff has declined.

Last month, the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) recommended to the Government that the appropriate level for a general pay increase would be 2%, coupled with an extra 1.5% for SAS doctors. This recommendation was ignored by the Government, the BMA said.

‘The Government’s decision to not implement the recommendations of the DDRB has been compounded by its unjust decision to not back-date this pay award to April 2018 for hospital doctors,’ Dr Nagpaul said.

‘Far from the Government claiming to lift the pay cap for public sector workers, most doctors will continue to receive an uplift of 1% or less – and appear uniquely targeted in this unfair manner.’

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