Hospital Dr News

“Limit hospital doctor pay rise to 1% or less”

Hospital doctors face the prospect of a real-terms pay cut next year.

The chancellor Alistair Darling is to write to the pay review body urging it to recommend a pay rise of between 0% and 1% for 2010/11, which is likely to be below inflation.

It’s even worse for GPs. They are part of 750,000 public sector high earners, including senior NHS managers, council chiefs and judges, who are likely to receive a pay freeze if the chancellor’s recommendations are followed.  

If fully implemented, the pay freeze would be the toughest public sector pay deal in 30 years.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, BMA chairman, commented: “Penalising all doctors, and in particular singling out GPs for a total pay freeze, is completely the wrong move and is likely to prove counterproductive.

Rather than punishing the front-line staff who are achieving better clinical outcomes than ever before, the government needs to fundamentally re-think its health policies to ensure taxpayers’ money is not wasted. Hundreds of millions of pounds of NHS funding has been lost on poor value Private Finance Initiatives, expensive ISTC contracts and unnecessary advice from management consultants, together with the market-driven reforms that allow commercial providers to profit from the NHS.”

The pay freeze would not affect teachers, nurses and police officers, who are still subject to three-year pay deals which come to an end next year, or members of the armed forces. Other public servants likely to receive between a 0% and 1% pay rise include dentists and prison officers.

The BMA called for a 2% salary increase for all doctors in its evidence to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration. It urged the pay body to remain independent of government presssure and take doctors’ morale into consideration when deciding next year’s pay award. 

Hospital doctors received a pay award of 1.5% for 2009/10.

The chancellor controversially made his announcement during the Conservative Party Conference.

George Osborne, shadow chancellor, announced that a Conservative government would impose a one-year pay freeze for the 4 million public servants earning more than £18,000 in 2011 as he vowed to tackle the country’s debt crisis. He also said the Conservatives would seek to raise the state retirement age from 2016 to 66 years of age.

Stephen Campion, chief executive of the HCSA, said: “There’s no doubt that pensions are a major factor of public expenditure and in economic terms the status quo is not a realistic option.

“But I’m concerned that public servants, including doctors who are currently subject to various pension schemes, should not suffer a ‘double whammy’ by unilateral changes to their existing pension plans – that would penalise those who have planned for financial stability in retirement. These are worrying times for those preparing for retirement and we would not expect them to carry the burden of a reduction in anticipated pension income.”

Read more on current consultant pay scales.

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