BMA slams chancellor's 'disregard for NHS staff' after pay freeze extended

Doctors' leaders have accused the chancellor of having a 'cynical disregard' for NHS staff after he announced a 1% cap on pay rises for the next four years.

Dr Mark Porter: George Osborne's budget shows 'cynical disregard for NHS staff' (Photo: BMA)

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said the continual chipping away at pay had left doctors demoralised.

Official data published last year showed that GP income had fallen nearly 25% in seven years from 2005/6.

The government had also failed to show how the NHS could achieve the £22bn efficiency savings that health service leaders say are required on top of the £8bn a year funding increase the government has pledged, the Dr Porter said.

‘Despite the NHS remaining one of the few public services protected from real-terms spending cuts, the reality is that simply keeping pace with the cost of living fails to address the long-term cost pressures on the NHS,' he warned.

NHS funding shortfall

‘The government has pledged an additional £8bn but has failed to set out how the NHS can achieve the additional £22bn in efficiency savings needed.

‘So far the majority of savings have been found through cutting tariffs paid to hospitals and cutting staff pay. The health secretary himself has admitted that continued pay restraint is unsustainable and the chancellor’s cynical disregard for NHS staff is shown by this announcement of a pay freeze for another four years at a time when he knows that inflation will rise above that.'

He added: ‘Doctors have been a driving force behind protecting patient care in the face of tighter budgets and rising demand. The continual chipping away at staff pay has left doctors feeling demoralised and devalued. It is simply wrong to expect hard working NHS staff to continue to bear the burden for the government’s failure to put NHS finances on a sustainable footing.

‘The government needs to be clear about how it will meet the need for additional investment to achieve those efficiencies, which many predict will be impossible to deliver without further cuts to services.’

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