Doctors are ‘outraged’ at Hunt’s refusal to grant a 1% pay rise

Exclusive: Healthcare workers from Unite union are considering industrial action

Health Reporter

Jeremy Hunt’s “failure” to grant doctors a 1 per cent pay rise has left the profession with “a deep sense of outrage”, the leader of the doctors’ union has said – warning that refusing to invest more in the NHS has put the future of the health service itself at risk.

In a personal letter to the Health Secretary seen by The Independent, British Medical Association chairman Dr Mark Porter urged Mr Hunt to reconsider last week’s decision to reject advice from independent pay advisors by denying healthcare workers a below inflation pay rise.

The Department of Health claimed last week that all NHS staff would get at least a 1 per cent pay increase this year. But Dr Porter said the Health Secretary had been guilty of a “deliberate conflation” of public sector pay rises designed to rise with the cost of living, and wage increases linked to professional development.

Healthcare workers from Unite union are considering industrial action, while a strike has also been discussed by members of GMB union – the unions represent 550,000 NHS staff. However, Dr Porter told The Independent the BMA’s concern went beyond a dispute over pay, which, adjusted for inflation, has fallen by 13 per cent for consultants and trainees and by 11 per cent for GPs.

“Crucially, this is about more than doctors’ pay,” he said. “It goes to the heart of the financial crisis facing the NHS and its ability to deliver the best possible patient care in the future. Chipping away at wages highlights the fact the Government doesn’t yet have a meaningful and sustainable solution to addressing the funding gap in the health service. Without the investment needed to meet rising demand from an ageing population, and put the NHS on a sustainable financial footing, then we need to face up to the reality that patient care, and the future of the NHS, will be at risk.”

He said despite Government claims to be protecting the NHS budget, this was “not the reality on the frontline”, adding 2014/15 would be the fifth consecutive year staff had faced a pay cut in real terms.

The Government has not cut NHS spending, allowing minsters to claim it has been “protected”, but the rate at which the annual budget rises has reduced to nearly zero. Mr Hunt claimed a universal pay increase would be “unaffordable”, but said all healthcare workers would get at least a 1 per cent pay rise due to a pay progression scheme.

A Department of Health spokesperson said the Pay Review Body’s recommendations would have cost £450m to implement. “The Health Secretary has made it clear that his door is open to agree alternative proposals on pay providing we can continue to protect the frontline,” said the spokesperson.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links