GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash told GP newspaper: 'This sends a terrible message, particularly at a time when NHS staff are being asked to step up and respond to a potential national emergency.'
She said the DoH should always implement review bodies' advice including that of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body which sets GP pay.
'Not doing so is exceptionally damaging - it has bad consequences for recruitment and retention and morale.'
There is currently a 22 per cent vacancy rate among NHS pharmacists in England and Wales. The pharmacists' pay review body proposed a premium of up to £5,000 a year to improve recruitment and retention.
But health secretary Andy Burnham rejected the proposal, claiming that money was short and the recruitment crisis was not severe enough to justify it.
Unison health officer Mike Jackson said that the decision 'undermines the integrity of the independent review body system. The government and public would be outraged if unions took industrial action over a pay review body award,' he added.
'Why should the government get away with such a cavalier action?'
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