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One per cent pay rise 'disappointing'

Doctors criticise 'unfair' rise after years of real terms pay cuts

Mark Gould

Friday, 15 March 2013

Dr Mark Porter the chair of the BMA Council and Dr Laurence Buckman the chair of the BMA GPs Committee say doctors will be “very disappointed” with the decision of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB), which sets pay rates for the profession, to recommend a 1 per cent pay uplift for doctors. 

The BMA also criticised the Government for failing to implement the DDRB’s recommendations for GP contractors. The DDRB recommended a gross uplift of 2.29% for GP contractors – to cover increases in practice expenses and staff pay and deliver a 1% net increase to GP pay in line with other doctors – but the Government has reduced that to 1.32%, challenging the Review Body’s calculations on staff pay.

Dr Buckman, said the BMA was bitterly disappointed that the Government is “interfering” with the recommendations of the Review Body. "The Government is essentially telling GPs that their staff should earn less than what the DDRB has indicated, or that GPs should take another real terms pay cut.

“GPs will be fed up that they are again being treated unfairly, particularly when they are also facing the imposition of unwelcome contract changes and having to deal with the consequences of the Health and Social Care Act in England. GPs may feel less motivated to work with the Government in the future at a time when they are needed most.”

Dr Porter said: “As the Review Body has noted, doctors have made a significant contribution to the performance of the NHS during a time of huge financial pressure.  The net increase of 1%, which is below inflation, will be very disappointing to doctors – especially after real terms pay cuts for many years – and will do little to improve morale.”

But Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, was opposed to any pay rise at all saying a one per cent rise, which is also recommended for nurses and other staff, will add £500m to the annual NHS pay bill.

"I understand why the Government chose to accept the PRB recommendation for a pay increase after two years of headline pay freeze, but I am still deeply perplexed that the independent pay review bodies have recommended any increase at all," he said.

"We gave compelling evidence to the pay review bodies on pay levels, staff turnover and improvements in job satisfaction, arguing that a pay increase this year wasn't necessary and would add additional cost pressures to NHS trusts in what we know will be an extremely challenging year.

"Most NHS staff are already set to receive incremental pay increases averaging more than three per cent as they climb up through their pay bands, and they will still receive these as well as the additional salary rise announced by the Government today.

"I fully recognise that some staff are anxious about their income, and employers want to do everything they can to support them and build morale. But employers' biggest priorities are maintaining and improving quality patient care and staff job security, both of which depend on sustainable pay bills."

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