Pay deal 'unacceptable' for 92% of doctors, BMA poll reveals

More than nine in 10 doctors say the pay offer unveiled last month for NHS doctors is unacceptable, a major BMA poll reveals.

Of more than 12,000 doctors who responded, just under three quarters said the pay offer was 'highly unacceptable', while a further 18% said it was 'somewhat unacceptable'.

Under the pay offer, GP partners are set to receive a 2% increase, while junior doctors also receive 2% and consultants 1.5% - with the government offering less than independent advisors in the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) had recommended.

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the poll findings 'should be a wake-up call for the government', calling the pay offer set out by ministers 'nothing more than an insult'.

He warned: 'They have seriously misjudged the mood of the profession with what is another sub-inflationary pay award.

'The government’s decision to not implement the recommendations of the DDRB has been compounded by its unjust decision to not back-date this pay award to April 2018 for hospital doctors. This is wholly contrary to the definition of an "annual" pay uplift.'

Dr Nagpaul added: 'The government’s headline figures are inaccurate and misleading for doctors since this six-month pay uplift commencing in October effectively halves its value for the year. Far from the government claiming to lift the pay cap for public sector workers, most doctors will continue to receive an uplift of 1% or less – and appear uniquely targeted in this unfair manner.'

The poll also found that 88% of doctors felt less valued after the pay offer from the government, and 85% said it had worsened their morale.

Earnings drop

Dr Nagpaul highlighted that doctors across the board had seen sharp falls in earnings over the past decade, with GPs losing 20% in real terms, consultants 19% and junior doctors 21%.

He added: 'With the NHS facing severe shortages of doctors across all specialities, it is more important than ever that the government recognises the contribution declining pay has had on the ability to recruit and retain doctors and takes steps to reverse this.

'These results give the health and social care secretary compelling evidence to make tangible improvements to the morale and well-being of doctors. Back-dating the pay to April and increasing the offer would go a long way towards showing doctors that the government does recognise their invaluable contribution and I look forward to meeting with the secretary of state in person to discuss how this can be done.'

A DHSC spokeswoman said: ''We value our hardworking doctors and they have all seen significant pay rises since the introduction of the new contract last year – between September 2016 and September 2017 those in their first year received a £1,716 increase and those in core training received £2,024.

'The government has accepted the independent pay review body’s recommendation of a further 2% increase - the largest pay rise in 10 years.'

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