Career Focus


BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 05 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:S3a-7099
  • Volunteers are a potential resource in many parts of health care activity. Goodwill in practice (London: Royal College of General Practitioners, 1997) is a useful guide of the organisational and legal issues for those who would recruit and manage unpaid workers.

  • Low pay is a factor in many doctorsõ reluctance to return from a career break, according to a survey conducted by the “Donõt waste doctors” project in the North West region (0161 237 2022). One quarter of of the respondents identified overtime payments paid at half the day time rate as an obstacle to returning to work, particularly if they had to pay for child care in addition.

  • Recognition of low morale in the defence medical services has led to an enhancement of doctorsõ pay within the service. Over reliance on reservists, difficulty in attracting quality candidates, and premature voluntary retirement rates three times the historic norm provided compelling evidence for the Review Body on Armed Forces Pay that reform was needed.

The former single pay scale has been replaced by three: for general practitioners, dentists, and a new “consultant cadre.” The top end of the consultant pay scale has been amplified to align senior forces consultants with their NHS equivalents receiving the former “C” merit awards, and junior staff will receive annual rather than biennial increments in salary. Specialists will generally reach the rank of major (bottom increment £43 519) aged 30, and lieutenant colonel (bottom increment £54 805) aged 37, and retire, aged 58 on the top increment of £67 364. Their general practitioner colleagues are on a similar scale that rises from £36 810 to £58 357. Review Body on Armed Forces Pay. Supplement to the twenty-sixth report. 1997

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