Hospital doctors will receive a 1% pay rise in 2017/2018.
The Pay Review Body recommended the modest uplift, in line with the public sector pay cap imposed but the government several years previously.
Confirming the pay rise, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The Government is pleased to accept its recommendations for a 1 per cent increase to all Agenda for Change pay points from 1 April 2017 and the High Cost Area Supplement minimum and maximum payments.
“This will be in addition to incremental pay for those that are eligible.”
The BMA said the ‘independent’ Pay Review Body process was pointless, with it acting as a cover for driving down pay in real terms.
The union said the rise had to be set in context with the current 2.3% increase in the cost of living, and previous pay suppression.
Dr Mark Porter, BMA Council chair, said: “In real terms, doctors’ pay has sharply declined in the past five years, with junior doctors seeing their income drop by 17% at a time when their morale has been badly hit by the government’s mishandling of the new contract. Over the same period consultants have seen their pay drop by 14% and GPs by 13%.
“Doctors will be angered by this decision as it comes during a period when many are working harder than ever before in an environment of rising patient demand, stagnating budgets and staff shortages. Hospital doctors and GPs are bearing the brunt of the funding crisis facing the NHS, and are choosing to leave. This is where rota gaps, consultant vacancies and closed GP practices start.”
MPs pay, which is set by an independent watchdog, is set to rise by 1.3% – on top of other rises in the last two years.
The Pay Review Body report suggested targeted incentives should be used to improve recruitment and retention locally.
It said: “It is clear that current public sector pay policy is coming under stress. There are significant supply shortages in a number of staff groups and geographical areas. There are widespread concerns about recruitment, retention and motivation that are shared by employers and staff alike. Inflation is set to increase during 2017 compared to what was forecast, leading to bigger cuts in real pay for staff than were anticipated in 2015, when current public sector pay policy was announced by the new UK government.
“Local pay flexibilities to address recruitment and retention issues are not being used to alleviate the very shortages they were designed to address. Our judgement is that we are approaching the point when the current pay policy will require some modification, and greater flexibility, within the NHS.”
BMA said targeted incentives would not address the serious overall problems that are widespread throughout the country. “With the NHS at breaking point, the health service needs a proper, long term workforce plan and not piecemeal initiatives that offer only a short term fix,” Porter said.