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Doctors in England give thumbs down to latest pay rise

BMA poll shows most respondents regard it as ‘unacceptable’

Caroline White

Wednesday, 08 August 2018

A poll of more than 12,000 doctors in England shows that nine out of 10 regard the recent pay rise from the government as "unacceptable", while a similar number believe that their morale has worsened since the announcement was made.

The British Medical Association (BMA) received responses from 12, 717 doctors to its survey asking for their views on the pay uplifts for doctors in England, which were published in July 2018.

Under the deal, junior doctors will get a pay increase of 2%, as will GPs. Consultants will see their annual pay packet increase by 1.5%.

The government ignored the recommendations of the independent review body, which many already regarded as insufficient, when it made the award, the BMA points out.

When asked how acceptable the government’s offer was, three quarters (74%) of respondents said it was “highly unacceptable” while nearly one in five (18%) said it was “somewhat unacceptable.”

Less than 1% of respondents felt the deal was “highly acceptable.”

As result of the pay announcement, almost six out of 10 (58%) felt “significant reduced” value working as a doctor in the NHS, while almost a third (30%) felt a “reduced” value.

Less than 1% felt more valued because of the pay uplifts, and of this proportion, only 0.1% felt their morale had “significantly improved.”

In total, nearly half (45%) of respondents felt their morale had “significantly worsened”, while a four out of 10 (40%) felt it had “worsened.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said the survey findings should act as a wake-up call for the government.

“They [the government] have seriously misjudged the mood of the profession with what is another sub-inflationary pay award,” he said.

“The government’s decision to not implement the recommendations of the Doctors and Dentist's Review Body (DDRB) has been compounded by its unjust decision to not back-date this pay award to April 2018 for hospital doctors. This is wholly contrary to the definition of an “annual” pay uplift,” he insisted.

“The government’s headline figures are inaccurate and misleading for doctors since this six-month pay uplift commencing in October effectively halves its value for the year.

“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,” he said.

“For those thousands of our hard-working members and their families this is nothing more than an insult and the figures speak for themselves,” he added.

He pointed out that 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%.

“After the secretary of state’s recognition that NHS staff are feeling ‘under-valued’ what is most troubling is the devastating impact this has had on doctor morale,” he said.

“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.”

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