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Employers seek 2% rise for doctors and dentists

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2114 (Published 16 October 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2114
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1Margate

    Health service employers want doctors to receive a below inflation pay rise of 2% next year.

    The call for an “affordable” pay rise for 2009-10 from NHS Employers, the body that represents NHS organisations, came in its evidence to the doctors’ and dentists’ review body (DDRB) published on Tuesday.

    The BMA, which is due to publish its own evidence to the pay review body later this week, would not comment directly on NHS Employers’ recommendations, but said it would be seeking a “fair and appropriate” pay award.

    NHS Employers said that it had to find a balance between fairness to staff and affordability, so limiting a pay rise for doctors and dentists employed by the NHS to 2% would be affordable, providing there was a corresponding rise in funding allocation for 2009-10.

    UK inflation reached 5.2% in September, according to the consumer prices index, and the same month’s retail prices index rose to 5%.

    NHS Employers, which wants a multiyear award to help predict costs, said that it recognised that inflationary pressures and expectations surrounding efficiency were putting pressure on services, and any unfunded pressures from pay, which makes up most of NHS spending, could threaten patient care.

    Gill Bellord, director of pay, pensions, and employment relations at NHS Employers, said, “Employers are sympathetic to the difficulties that staff are facing in the current economic climate, but unaffordable increases would potentially risk pushing costs too far—as well as damaging service delivery and service improvements—and would not be helpful to staff in the longer term.

    “A balance has to be struck on fairness for patients, fairness for staff, and fairness for the taxpayer, and we believe 2% strikes an appropriate balance while being affordable to the service.”

    The body argues in its evidence that employers are working hard to ensure that staff are rewarded in a range of ways, including having a final salary pension scheme, ongoing training and development, flexible working opportunities, and an emphasis on staff participation and engagement.

    The reward package is paying dividends, says the evidence, shown by the fact that recruitment and retention are “reasonably stable,” morale and motivation are improving, and services to patients are benefiting as a result.

    A BMA spokesperson said, “The BMA will be publishing its own evidence to the DDRB later this week on what it suggests to be a fair and appropriate pay award for doctors based on the available evidence.”

    Separate evidence will be submitted by all parties on GPs’ pay next month.

    Notes

    Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2114

    Footnotes

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