BMA urges DDRB to ignore public sector pay cap and back 2% rise for doctors

BMA leaders have warned that the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) risks giving the impression it is 'no longer acting independently' if it recommends a pay rise for 2017/18 in line with the government's 1% public sector cap.

BMA evidence to the DDRB makes the case for doctors to receive a pay rise 'in line with the wider economy, where pay settlements continue to run at higher than the public sector pay policy cap, at around 2% currently'.

The BMA warns: 'We believe that doctors are being unfairly punished by government with continuing real loss of earnings and increasing cost pressures, when pay rises above 1% are still regularly being seen across the economy, and at a time when doctors are working harder than ever to deliver a safe and quality service to patients, often at the expense of their own health.'

The doctors' union hit out at the DDRB's decision to recommend a rise for 2016/17 in line with the public sector pay cap, which is 'well below wage inflation in the wider economy'.

GP income

It also criticised the pay advisory body for failing to recommend an uplift in GP gross earnings last year, warning that although in England a pay settlement was agreed, GPs in other parts of the UK lost out.

'In the case of Wales, this led to average GP earnings again falling in cash and real terms last year,' the BMA evidence warns.

The BMA also hit out at the DDRB allowing government evidence to be submitted 'well beyond DDRB deadlines' and warns of a 'significant lack of data around sessional GPs', despite the fact that this group is a growing part of the GP workforce.

The BMA evidence says there is 'insufficient evidence' for the DDRB to make recommendations on pay for doctors working in new models of care, or as locums, and calls for better evidence to be collected.

Despite growing gaps between different UK nations in GP contract terms, the BMA confirms it will seek an equal uplift for general practice across the UK.

Targeted, unequal pay uplifts to tackle regional or specialty-specific doctor shortages are not acceptable, the BMA argues, unless there is a significant overall increase in overall funding available.

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