Pay Rise for Doctors in England 'Derisory', Says BMA

Peter Russell

July 24, 2018

Most NHS doctors and dentists in England are set for a pay rise of at least 2%, the Government has said.

The new Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock was responding to recommendations by the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration.

Announcing the increase, Mr Hancock, said: "This is a pay rise that recognises the value and dedication of hardworking doctors and dentists." He said in the future the Government would want multi-year deals in return for contract reforms for consultants and GPs.

The British Medical Association (BMA) called the latest offer "derisory".

A 2% Pay Hike

Under the proposals, GPs would receive an extra 2% backdated to April 2018, representing an additional 1% to the value of the GP remuneration through the GP contract.

Mr Hancock suggested that the pay rise had been limited by the need to recruit more doctors. "GPs face a significant challenge in numbers and we need to recruit large numbers over a short period, meaning any pay rise needs to be balanced against our aim for a growing number of practitioners," he said. However, there would also be the potential for an additional 1% to be paid from 2019-20.

General dental practitioners would also receive a 2% increase.

Consultants would see a 1.5% increase in basic pay from October this year.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that, including the announcement of today's pay award, from October 2018 a consultant who started in 2013 will have seen a 16.5% increase in their basic pay, rising to a salary of £87,665 from £75,249. It said that today’s pay award was worth:

  • Between £1,150 and £1,550 for consultants

  • Between £1,140 and £2,120 for specialty doctors

  • Between £1,600 and £2,630 for associate specialists

  • Between £532 and £924 for junior doctors

  • Around £1,052 for a salaried GP with a median taxable income of £52,600

The announcement followed a pay rise of 6.5% awarded to around 1.3 million NHS workers earlier this year.

The NHS spends around £120 billion each year and has around 1.4 million staff. These include over 215,000 doctors and dentists.

Pay Rise 'Beggars Belief'

The review body said its pay recommendations should be seen in context of economic growth of 1.8% in 2017, following growth of 1.9% in the previous year. It said inflation, measured by the Consumers Prices Index, was broadly stable at the end of 2017 and had then fallen sharply to 2.5% in the early part of 2018. Over the period covered by its pay recommendations, inflation was likely to be close to 2%, it said.

As a result, the review body considered that a pay increase for health professionals around the 2% mark "broadly maintains pay in real-terms".

Responding to the announcement, the BMA said that most doctors would see a real-terms fall in pay. "At a time when the NHS faces severe shortages of doctors across all specialties, it beggars belief that the ministers have failed to recognise the contribution declining pay has had on the ability to recruit and retain doctors and the significant damage to morale," commented Dr Anthea Mowat, the BMA's representative body chair.
 

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