Hospital Dr News

Doctors pay body accused of Government bias and ignoring pressing pay issues

Doctors are questioning whether the independent body which advises on pay is in fact independent and feel let down by the pay review process.

That is the conclusion of the BMA, which each year puts a submission into the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Body (DDRB) – which then makes pay recommendations to the Government.

The doctors’ union says a decade of austerity and pay caps in the public sector have seen a major erosion of pay levels for doctors – by as much as 30%.

While the one percent pay cap was lifted for nearly every other group of workers in the public sector, last year’s pay award fell short of that for many doctors.

As a result, doctors’ confidence in the independence of the DDRB has been completely eroded. This year the union has only submitted a cursory briefing to the DDRB because it feels its evidence of the need for a pay rise is being ignored.

The BMA is now calling for the Body to assert its independence by recommending an uplift that is at least in line with inflation and to start addressing the real terms pay cut most doctors are experiencing.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair said: “The repeated failure of the Body to adhere to its founding principle of independence from government, and ensuring fair pay, is deeply worrying. We have advised the DDRB that it has failed in its duty and, crucially, it must rectify its failings by securing a better deal for doctors in future.

“However, if the DDRB continues to act in such a partisan manner, we may have no choice but to reconsider our future relationship.”

Doctors have been singled out as the only public sector workers who are still subject to a pay cap with some receiving effective uplifts of less than 1% in 2018.

Nagpaul said: “The derisory new pay settlement for hospital consultants in England gives them an average weekly increase of just £6.10 after tax – at a time when they have lost nearly a quarter of their take home pay in the last decade. The effect this has had on motivation and morale is untenable.”

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