GP pay rise unnecessary and unaffordable, says NHS Employers

Morale among doctors is satisfactory and there is 'no pressing recruitment and retention issue' to justify relaxing the NHS pay freeze, according to NHS Employers.

Dr Mark Porter: NHS savings cannot come from chipping away at staff pay
Dr Mark Porter: NHS savings cannot come from chipping away at staff pay

The BMA has hit back, demanding a pay rise for doctors in line with inflation and warning that most doctors have seen real-terms drops in income for several years.

GP reported earlier today that by the end of the current financial year, accountants believe GP income is likely to have fallen by up to 25% since the 2004 contract.

Although evidence submitted to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) by the employers' representative does not apply directly to GP practice funding, it argues that 'it would be inequitable and unaffordable if primary care contractors were to receive a higher uplift than salaried employees'.

NHS England is to submit separate evidence on GP contract funding imminently, but NHS Employers will lead GMS negotiations on its behalf.

A recent 3,000-plus GP poll by the BMA found job satisfaction among GPs had plummeted in the past year. A second poll commissioned by the DH found stress was at a 15-year high, and suggested 9,000 of the current GP workforce planned to quit the NHS in the next five years - 2,000 of them aged under 50.

But evidence from NHS Employers to the DDRB says 'there is no pressing recruitment and retention issue that can be solved by increasing national pay scales', and that the 'morale and motivation of doctors remains satisfactory; higher than other health occupations and higher than that prevailing in the economy at large'.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: 'We recognise fully the economic constraints the NHS is working under but the continued erosion in the real value of contracts for doctors has now reached a critical point.

'We are also concerned that despite the excellent work done by doctors under enormous pressures it is once again unlikely to be recognised as the government has already made it quite clear what it expects the DDRB to recommend.

'This ignores the reality. Despite claims pay is out of control, the vast majority of doctors have seen real term cuts in their income year on year.

Billions of the government’s so-called NHS efficiency savings have come from the continuing erosion of staff income. It is unrealistic to think the NHS can cut its budget by almost a quarter simply by just chipping away at staff pay.'

The NHS Employers evidence also says: 'DDRB recommendations should be used to support necessary contract reforms, to link pay progression better to individual and organisational performance and remove the barriers to seven-day working, rather than increase national pay scales.'

It adds that GP registrar supplements should not rise, and that salaried GP pay scales do not need to change.

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