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DDRB asked to split 1% rise to improve retention

DH wants overall 1% uplift to be targeted at areas struggling most with doctor numbers

Louise Prime

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Department of Health wants to use this year’s pay review, with an overall average uplift of just one per cent, to be directed unequally to help improve recruitment and retention of doctors and dentists in the worst-hit areas, it has told the Doctors and Dentists Review Body – which could mean GPs in many areas will receive considerably less than a one per cent rise in 2016-17.

David Prior, parliamentary undersecretary of state for NHS productivity (Lords) has written to DDRB chair Paul Curran, confirming that the government will fund annual pay awards in the public sector at an average of one per cent in each of the next four years (2016-17 to 2019-20), insisting that: “Pay restraint in the public sector continues to be a crucial part of its plans to reduce the deficit.” He has asked the DDRB to use its “expertise, impartial and independent judgement” to advise on how this can most effectively be used, and “consider how an award might be targeted to support recruitment and retention”.

In his letter to the DDRB, published yesterday, David Prior said: “I invite the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ remuneration to consider the case for targeting to support recruitment and retention and to make recommendations within an average of one per cent for employed doctors.”

He particularly asked the DDRB to give its views on how this would apply to remuneration for independent contractors, both GPs and general dental practitioners. He said: “The government would welcome the views of [the DDRB] as to how an overall pay uplift of an average of one per cent could be applied to improve recruitment and retention.”

His comments have raised alarm among many GPs, who have pointed out that severe GP shortages exist right across the UK; and that a tiny one per cent uplift would in any case be highly unlikely to affect recruitment and retention rates.

David Prior added that the government has asked NHS Employers to continue work to introduce a new junior doctor contract from 1 August 2016, and that it will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including the BMA, in developing and implementing the new contract.

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