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BMA calls for GP pay increase to relieve workforce crisis

The BMA is asking for GPs to get more money after capping their pay award at 1% meant they took home a pay rise 60% lower than other workers.

It warned the independent Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) that a failure to address the decline in pay in 2018/19 would ‘worsen the current recruitment and retention issues’.

The BMA's evidence submission is calling for doctors to get an increase in line with the Retail Price Index, plus 2% (or £800, if that is higher).

In January the Department of Health and Social Care indicated there could be some ‘flexibility’ around the 1% pay rise for public sector workers.

However limiting pay awards to just 1% meant doctors got about 60% less than people working in the wider economy, said the BMA.

It told the DDRB’s pay review that another ‘sub-inflation uplift will mean further degradation of the perceived value of doctors’ work’.

It pointed out that doctors have suffered ‘a significant fall in real income since the start of the last recession in 2008’ with GPs hit by a 20% cut, despite increased workloads.

Doctors in a GMS or PMS practice saw a 1.2% drop in pre-tax earnings to £90,100 between 2014 and 2016. Salaried GPs saw a 2.5% drop in their pre-tax pay to £55,800 for the same period.

‘Given that over the past year pay has been capped at 1% again, we would expect the decline in real incomes to have accelerated with continued negative impact on living standards, morale and recruitment and retention,’ said the BMA.

The rising cost of expenses also outstripped the 1% proposed pay increase with practices suffering ‘inadequate compensation’ for them, the BMA pointed out.

It called for an RPI plus 2% uplift of expenses in England, with the devolved nations negotiating directly with their governments.

The sector is also in the midst of a recruitment and retention crisis, losing 918 GPs in England alone between March 2016 and September 2017, and a quarter of Scottish surgeries reporting unfilled vacancies .

However, the proposed Scottish contract ‘explicitly does not address GP pay uplifts’, said the BMA. It said the DDRB should recommend a pay uplift.

The BMA rejected the review body’s recommendation to look at the salaried GP model contract, saying it did not agree there was any confusion about it. Instead it ‘represents good employment practice’, ensuring minimum common standards for GPs.

Note: This article was updated at 10.20 on 16 February to reflect that the BMA asked for an increase in line with RPI plus 2%, rather than RPI or 2%, as was previously stated.


Readers' comments (20)

  • The band plays on whilst the ship sinks,20% wouldn't be enough now,the ddrb are influenced heavily by the government and have presided over the decline in doctor numbers in primary care,they always get their sums wrong as previous awards have led to a real terms pay cut even before inflation.
    The BMA are also complicit in the decline of the NHS
    You cannot deliver health care without doctors sorry Jeremy it may not be politically correct but it is true and doctors don't want to work for the terms and conditions currently on offer and vote with their feet.
    2% will not be agreed Jeremy can say he was "tough on those doctors " NHSE will promote new models of care which have failure inherent within them and next year there will be even fewer doctors and we will start again with the hand wringing

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  • Anonymous Locum GP

    it's too later for breadcrumbs BMA try the following;

    1. declare that we are unable to guarantee safe medical care untill working conditions improve and standards to support that are maintainned and monitored.

    2. declare that if conditions continue to worsen we will look at other options and to make the point initiate a study on the impact of GPs leaving the NHS i.e, the cost to the public - this will focus minds on all sides.

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  • Nope won’t do if for me.

    Actively planning getting out.

    No matter how much you polish a turd it’s still a turd.

    Never ever thought I would ever say this of my job.

    Nothing I can foresee will change my plan in any way shape or form.

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  • Too Little. too late.The Uk in uncompetitive internationally(The current failure of the European recruitment a testament to that".All GPs are looking to get out this will not stop the mass exodus.Sad.Restart the band "abide with me "it is then.Now where my life belt.

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  • 2% rise plucked from where?
    We are down close to 20% in last 2 years. Deafened by the silence of the stampeding junior Docs looking for GP jobs.

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  • I reckon my salary is down 45% since 2004, yet workload has doubled, so do the maths and it doesn’t add up
    Gone part time this year and gone by next all being well and I am in my early 50s!

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  • What an absolute joke BMA, and that’s why I cancelled my subs. The BMA are a disgrace and part to blame for the appalling conditions we face. The BMA should be lobbying for 10% uplift in pay given the 10 years of pay freezes/cuts. The government will meet in the middle at 1.5%, and we’ll see yet another avalanche of GPs leaving. The pay is crap. I see my friends who went to Uni and didn’t do medicine get paid more, and don’t have to fight tooth and nail for a fair pay rise. I’m now starting to write my CV and find my way out if that’s the BMAs answer. What an absolute joke.

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  • The pay isn’t god for doctors and certainly does not reflect responsibility and risk. This is particularly so lower down the grades. Clever people will go elsewhere for a career or practice abroad.
    The only thing the BMA could do to regain respect for me would be to call for non payment of GMC fees.
    Drs have no true representation now.

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  • 2% wow. Thank you BMA

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  • The BMA says:
    "We believe that doctors should be treated in line with the wider economy and we therefore ask for a recommendation to uplift the pay of all doctors across the UK in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), plus £800 or 2 per cent (whichever is greater).!

    Pulse says:
    "The BMA's evidence submission is calling for doctors to get a 2% rise in 2018/19, or an increase in line with the Retail Price Index, plus £800 – if that is higher."


    My English tells me that the BMA have asked for RPI +2% (=total of 7.4%) OR RPI+£800, whichever is the highest.

    There is quite a big difference between the two.

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