• NHSE/I recommends 2 per cent pay rise for consultants and SAS doctors
  • But warns anything higher could hamper long-term plan commitments
  • DHSC yet to publish evidence to pay review body

NHS chiefs have backed a 2 per cent pay rise for doctors — but warned anything higher would hinder the ability to deliver on long-term plan commitments. 

In its submission to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, published on Tuesday, NHS England and NHS Improvement said funds are available for a 2 per cent pay increase in 2020-21 for consultants and staff, associate specialist and specialty doctors.

The report added this was “in line” with the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast for consumer price index inflation for the next financial year.

However, it warned pay awards “must be consistent” with provider plans to meet financial targets, as the LTP contained commitments to slash trust deficits to strengthen sustainability.

The report added: “A higher pay award would reduce trusts’ ability to increase the volume of staff hired, and at a national level would require reprioritisation of funding away from other investments necessary to deliver the LTP — both related to workforce and more generally.”

The submission also argued NHS staff receive a range of benefits that would “not necessarily” be available to them in the private sector. This includes base salary rises, increased employer pension contributions, the short-term pensions tax “solution” for 2019-20 announced last November, and “wider” financial support outside of basic pay.

The report said: “Given the relatively high rates of efficiency achieved in recent years by the NHS, as well as the stretching future efficiency challenge in the LTP, it is important the pay award for 2020-21 ensures the efficiency requirement on NHS organisations remains feasible.”

It follows NHS Employers warning the DDRB — which advises ministers on pay, terms and conditions — that trusts should not be burdened with “unfunded commitments” on pay and conditions, although it welcomed talks of another multiyear deal.

Meanwhile, the major NHS non-medical staff unions used their submission to warn of the “patchy” progress on the current Agenda for Change pay deal, especially concerning the movement of staff between bands one and two.

The Department of Health and Social Care is still yet to publish its submission to the pay review body, with a spokeswoman telling HSJ it would be out “soon”.