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BMA defends doubling of council member salaries

The BMA has defended huge pay rises to top negotiators at a time when the union’s members have seen scant pay rises for years.

As the Guardian revealed that council members saw salary hikes of as much as 137% from 1 January, the BMA said this reflected the amount of time they now had to spend away from their medical practice.

According to the newspaper, seven BMA top officers were awarded the significant boosts following a narrowly approved vote of its remuneration committee at the end of last year.

This included BMA chair Dr Mark Porter receiving a 94% pay rise, from £88,320 to £171,692, while BMA Scotland chair Dr Peter Bennie was the recipient of the 137% raise, from £32,205 to £76,431, it said.

GP and BMA treasurer Dr Andrew Dearden was also among the seven now significantly better remunerated officers named by the paper, although it did not specify exactly what he is now paid.

But a BMA spokesperson told Pulse that ‘the vast majority of this money does not go into, for example, Dr Porter’s pocket’ and also disputed the Guardian’s claims the pay rises were kept ‘secret’ from members.

A statement from the BMA stressed that the levels of pay were recommended by the remuneration committee independent of the chief officers themselves and overseen by the audit and finance committees.

It said: ‘As the recognised leaders of their profession the BMA’s chief officers are active, practising doctors. For some, holding such a position has become itself a full-time role. It is only right that these increasing demands are appropriately recognised.

‘BMA Council and its remuneration committee made its decision in 2014 - without the input or even the presence of those officers affected. In most cases some of the financial package is paid to the doctors’ employers in order to release them to attend work on behalf of the profession.

‘If we are to have the right people in the job, it is vital that they are not discouraged from doing so because of financial penalties.’

BMA chief executive Keith Ward said that the Guardian article was ‘misleading’ - for example in claiming that Dr Porter takes home £171,692.

He said: ‘This is grossly inaccurate as it fails to take into account the £54,000 deducted and paid by the BMA directly to the NHS trust where Dr Porter is a working anaesthetist. Equally Dr Porter has chosen to relinquish £77,000 leaving him with a payment of £40,000.’

Readers' comments (22)

  • for the pressure and the work we ask of them it seems reasonable.

    Those who moan forget its not their wages that are unreasonable its ours.
    All doctors in the UK are grossly underpaid and GP partners in particular - because of the risks and uncertainty they take on.

    The BMA is far from perfect but they are a million times better then the 'value' we get from the RCGP or any other royal college.

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  • Reasonable sums to be paid - poor way of managing the transition.

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  • "levels of pay were recommended by the remuneration committee independent of the chief officers themselves"....... now where have we heard that before? Funny how the DDRB recommendations over the years have always been ignored......

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  • Are they the 'right' people? Most young doctors do not know who MP is. The BMA seems ever so distant, almost business like.

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  • they are definitely worth it !

    many have been at their posts for years slogging it out with countless meetings and speeches. look how much they have done for the profession. Those who are criticizing the BMA consider this - thanks to the BMA we have had real term pay cuts for several years, increasing expenses, more government interference, failed representation by RCGP, and more interference by GMC. Without the BMA imagine how bad it would have been. We need to keep the same old faces at the BMA and increase our subscriptions otherwise I dread to think what would happen.

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  • would also like goodness - pay is linked to 'performance' !

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  • I'm glad that's not coming out of my contributions anymore.

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  • the main issues are;

    1) all doctors are having a bad time of it and have had to accept pay cuts and deterioration of T&Cs
    2) our pay increases were rejected by the government
    3) there is a feeling that the BMA has done absolutely nothing for it's members as compared to other unions
    4) the votes were secret which is an insult to the BMA's members

    given the above do they deserve the pay rises?

    IF the BMA had sorted out even one of the issues confronting doctors then i'd say pay em double but I fail to think of one thing the BMA has done for grassroots doctors apart from talk.

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  • I guess like everywhere else in medicine, the headline figures are not the true story. People need to get paid the equivalent of NHS sessions otherwise no-one will take it on. Like most above I feel now is the time to concentrate on the welfare of the profession whilst we still have one.

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  • Anyone who pays for BMA membership must have money to burn. They have done NOTHING for GPs.

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