BMA defends decision to double leaders' pay

The BMA has defended a decision to double the pay of its senior officers as necessary to attract the right people to lead the organisation.

Dr Mark Porter: pay rise criticised (Photo: BMA)
Dr Mark Porter: pay rise criticised (Photo: BMA)

An internal document leaked to the Guardian revealed that seven senior officers at the doctors’ union had been awarded pay rises in November 2014 of up to 137%.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter had his salary increased by 94% from £88,320 last year to £171,692, the Guardian reported.

BMA chairs in the devolved nations received pay rises of between 99% and 137%.

The pay rises were reported to have sparked an internal row after the BMA council narrowly accepted the rises by a 15-11 vote. One unnamed council member told the Guardian: ‘This is scandalous. You shouldn’t accept such big hikes when your members are really struggling and not getting a penny. This was morally wrong’. Another said: ‘There was significant dissent among council members uneasy about this.’

BMA pay hikes

The new salaries were reported to have been calculated to include the equivalent of a clinical excellence award paid to consultant by hospitals in recognition of outstanding work.

A BMA spokesman said: ‘As the recognised leaders of their profession the BMA's chief officers are active, practising doctors. For some, holding such a position has become itself a full-time role. It is only right that these increasing demands are appropriately recognised. BMA Council and its remuneration committee made its decision in 2014 – without the input or even the presence of those officers affected. In most cases some of the financial package is paid to the doctors' employers in order to release them to attend work on behalf of the profession.

‘If we are to have the right people in the job, it is vital that they are not discouraged from doing so because of financial penalties. The levels of pay were recommended by the BMA’s Remuneration Committee, independent of the chief officers, with oversight from the BMA’s Audit Committee and the Oversight and Finance Committee.’

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