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Scrap pay rise, says NHS Employers

NHS Employers has incurred the wrath of health unions after urging the Government to scrap plans for a 1% pay rise to NHS-employed workers, in its submission to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB).

The recommendation covers salaried GPs and locums directly employed by PCTs, but could also offer an indication of what is to come for GP partners and practice-employed doctors, given the Government’s stated intention that the maximum 1% pay rise for public sector workers should also apply to GPs.

NHS Employers said it had submitted evidence to suggest a 1% pay rise was not affordable for employers who were tasked with making efficiency savings, and said there was no evidence that the increase was necessary for recruitment, retention and motivation of staff.

But GPs and medical unions reacted furiously to the news, with the BMA saying that morale had ‘obviously’ been impacted by pay restraints, and UNITE accusing NHS Employers of launching a ‘pre-emptive attack’ on the independent review process.

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘The pay freeze has obviously had an impact on morale, particularly in the context of soaring pension contributions and the pressures created by the Nicholson challenge and the reforms in England.’

UNITE head of health Rachael Maskell said: ‘Managers have already instituted massive cuts to staffing levels, which are currently adversely impacting patient care.’

Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator, said the DDRB submission on pay should have no bearing on GP partner pay.

‘For GPs, a pay freeze would have been a luxury. GPs are getting a double whammy of the pay freeze and having to pay for the cost of inflation and rising expenses,’ he said. ‘The bottom line is you can only keep things screwed down for so long.’