BMA consults doctors on action after junior medics snubbed in NHS pay award

Exclusion of junior medics ‘is nothing short of insulting’ says BMA

Shaun Lintern
Friday 06 August 2021 14:11 BST
NHS workers demonstrate, demanding pay rise and better working conditions in London.
NHS workers demonstrate, demanding pay rise and better working conditions in London. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Thousands of junior doctors are to be consulted on action after they were excluded from the government’s NHS pay offer.

In 2019 the British Medical Association agreed a four year pay deal with the government that would give junior doctors a 2 per cent pay rise every year until 2023.

Announcing the recent 3 per cent pay rise this year for other NHS staff, ministers left out the 53,000 junior doctors.

Now the BMA is to issue a survey to its members to gauge their feelings on the pay award and what if any steps the union should consider.

This is not a ballot for strike action, which would be needed later if industrial action is to happen.

The 3 per cent pay award for more than a million NHS staff will cost around £1.5 billion and was an increase on the original 1 per cent offer made by ministers which sparked widespread anger from NHS unions.

The BMA says take home pay for junior doctors has fallen in real terms by 23 per cent compared to 2009.

BMA junior doctors committee chair Dr Sarah Hallett said: “Given the significant lengths that junior doctors have gone to throughout the pandemic and the profound impact this has had on their personal and professional lives, the government’s decision to exclude them from the pay uplift announced last month is nothing short of insulting.

“Three per cent is not an adequate uplift for any of our vital NHS staff, but in refusing to award the additional one per cent to junior doctors in England above their multi-year pay deal, ministers have effectively devalued their enormous and lifesaving contributions over the last 18 months.”

Last month, the Department of Health and Social Care said it was accepting the recommendations of the independent pay review body on NHS pay which called for a three per cent rise.

The increase will apply to most NHS staff including nurses, care assistants, and consultants. Salaried GPs and dentists will also see their pay rise by 3 per cent.

For the average nurse, this will mean an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners will receive around £540.

But the government has said the money for the pay rise will come from existing health budgets instead of new money provided by the Treasury.

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