NHS Employers has suggested that ministers’ proposals to boost recruitment in certain areas by offering differing pay awards is unlikely to work.
In its annual evidence on employed doctor salaries to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB), NHS Employers said that differential pay awards would be ‘likely to have a negative impact on staff morale’.
The document does not relate to GP practices’ funding, which will be addressed in evidence to be published later in the year.
But it does cast doubt on the Government’s proposals to potentially offer higher funding uplifts to practices in areas that have particular problems with recruitment.
The DH told Pulse earlier this week that it was considering setting GPs’ pay uplift for 2016/17 according to where they are practising as a way of alleviating the recruitment crisis.
However, NHS Employers’ evidence on salaried staff – which includes GPs working in hospitals – said: ’In general, employers in the NHS do not feel that an increase of 1% provides scope for any meaningful targeting.
’They suggest that a differential pay award would be seen as inequitable and likely to have a negative impact on staff morale. This could also worsen an already difficult position on the work linked to pay and contract reforms.’
The evidence does not cover independent contractors but does apply to salaried GPs.
The DDRB submission said: ’Salaried GPs other than those employed in practices now work in a number of different settings, including hospitals. Employers have said that it is not always clear on what terms they should be employed.’
It also added that some respondents to the employer survey ’disclosed that they were paying above the recommended maximum of the pay range to recruit salaried GPs, especially in London and in certain specialist roles’.
The Treasury’s 1% cap on annual pay rises for public sector staff, confirmed until 2019/20, applies.
NHS Employers also reiterated it is committed to junior doctor contract changes, arguing that the ‘case for change remains compelling’.
The organisation said: ’NHS Employers’ priority is to ensure reform of national pay and conditions so that they are fit for purpose, with implementation in 2016 of new contracts for consultants and junior doctors in training.
’We recognise the importance attached to these essential reforms and getting the implementation of new contracts right. They will affect the medical profession as a whole and individual practitioners throughout their careers.’
The BMA is balloting junior doctors until 18 November on industrial action over proposed contactual changes – which would reduce the extent to which junior doctors are paid extra for working in unsocial hours and also replace the GP training supplement with ’pay premia’.