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BMA urges NI Government to follow other countries and increase GP pay

BMA Northern Ireland has asked its Government to follow England, Scotland and Wales in awarding GPs a pay uplift.

Doctors in all of the three other UK nations were awarded a 2.8% pay award this year, although it did not apply to GP contractors in England who are on a multi-year pay deal.

This was in line what was recommended by the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) but BMA England’s GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey complained that it did not come with an uplift for GP contractors to pass on to their sessional employees.

Commenting on the situation in Northern Ireland, where the Government has yet to announce a pay decision, BMA NI council chair Dr Tom Black called for a swift decision.

He said: ‘There have been significant delays to the pay award in Northern Ireland in recent years which has impacted morale and contributed to lack of pay parity, particularly during the months of delay, between doctors pay in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The 2019/20 pay award for HSC-employed doctors in Northern Ireland is due to be paid this month, around a year later than the rest of the UK.’

He said this comes as the ‘last four months of the Covid-19 pandemic will have been one of the most stressful periods of doctors working lives’, with doctors responding ‘with commitment, hard work and innovation, willingly working long, unsociable hours away from their loved ones and putting their own wellbeing and lives at risk in the process’.

‘Doctors and other frontline health service workers will be called on again to work above and beyond for our health service during what will be the busiest winter period it might see yet. The very least the Department of Health can do is to recognise these efforts by implementing the 2020/21 pay uplift in a timely fashion,’ said Dr Black.