BMA :: BMA slams new settlement as a pay cut for all doctors

The British Medical Association [BMA] said the 2007-08 settlement for doctors was a pay cut and that UK doctors would feel betrayed and insulted to be offered such a derisory pay deal.

The Association?s Chairman, Mr James Johnson, warned ?doctors will not sit idly by while their negotiated pay contracts are chiselled away, year in and year out. It looks as if doctors have been hit by a double whammy. Not only does the Review Body appear to have bowed to government pressure but the government has phased an already miserly award.?

Chairman of the GP?s Committee, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said family doctors will feel profoundly let down by the fact that the Review Body1 believes they are not worth a pay increase. He described it as a black day for general practice and said:

?This is a grievous insult to GPs. A zero increase equates to a pay cut. For the second year running, not only will GPs get nothing to keep up with the cost of living, they will still have to meet all the annual increases of running their surgeries including paying their staff. It makes a mockery of the praise and fine words the Prime Minster has been uttering recently. Does he really think family doctors will want to deliver the government?s care closer to home agenda when they are treated like this? GPs negotiated their new contract in good faith, have worked flat out and have delivered a quality of care second to none. Patients value their family doctors ? what a travesty that the state values them at nothing.?

A shortage of family doctors is already predicted for the years ahead. Dr Meldrum added: ?This is a black day for general practice. A pension cap has already been announced. It would not surprise me if many GPs feel they should cut their losses and leave the NHS. This blow will be the breaking point for many and that will be a dire loss for patients.?

Doctors on the lowest pay scales, for example staff grade doctors will be penalised even on the slight upgrade of the Review Body?s flat rate settlement of ?1000. This is because ?1000 added to their salaries will be phased, with only a value of 1.5% increase in April and the balance in November.

Deputy Chairman of the Juniors? Committee, Dr Masood Ahmed, said:

?This is appalling. Junior doctors have put up with a lot over the last few years ? rising intensity of work, demanding targets, long shifts without adequate rest facilities, and the shambolic introduction of a new training system. Now the government is rubbing salt in the wounds by refusing to recognise our value to the NHS. There?s no doubt that this will prove the last straw for many junior doctors.?

Chairman of the Consultants? Committee, Dr Jonathan Fielden, said: ?Consultants will be angered and demoralised by this news. It will be extremely difficult for them to feel motivated to be innovative and improve patient care in a service that yet again fails to recognise their huge contribution to the NHS. Consultants are struggling with the threat of redundancy while trying to manage an incoherent reform agenda that is fragmenting the health service and they will now feel their efforts are not supported.?

Staff Grade and Associate specialists (SAS) are to receive a pay settlement of ?1000, Dr Ashok Pathak , Chairman of the BMA?s Staff and Associate Specialists Negotiating Committee says:

?SAS doctors have been given an effective pay cut. SAS doctors did not receive an adequate pay award last year because the Doctors? and Dentists? Review Body was expecting their pay to be brought in line with other groups in the NHS from April 2006. A year on, and the government is still stalling on a new contract for SAS doctors.

?A pay rise of ?1000 does not even match inflation and will do nothing to address the low morale of a group of doctors who haven?t had a significant pay rise for years. Today?s news will come as a major blow to SAS doctors working hard to improve services and meet waiting list targets. It is not fair to punish doctors for the financial mismanagement of the NHS.?

Medical Academics are to get a pay settlement of ?1000, Prof Michael Rees, Chairman of the BMA?s Medical Academics Committee says:

?We are in the midst of a medical academic recruitment crisis with recruitment figures from the most recent intake of junior doctors suggesting that they are put off becoming academics by significantly lower lifetime earnings and the effective pay cut announced today by the Doctors? and Dentists? Review Body is likely to make matters worse.

?It is difficult to see how the UK will be able to deliver high quality medical education to the doctors of tomorrow if, as is now looks likely, the numbers of medical academics continue to dwindle. Patients are also likely to suffer as research programmes to pioneer new treatments are also under threat from the decline in the number of medical academics.?

Leave a Comment