• Government rejects pay review body’s recommendation of a two per cent rise for salaried doctors 
  • Government pledges to open negotiations for multi-year consultant contract
  • Confirms a commitment to performance related pay and freezes clinical excellence awards
  • Speciality and associate specialist doctors awarded three per cent rise, also lower than pay review body’s 3.5 per cent recommendation 
  • British Medical Association says move will “make a bad situation much worse” and is considering next steps

The government has announced a pay rise for doctors - but its planned increase is less than that recommended by the independent pay review body.

From October 2018 individual pay awards will include an increase in annual salary of:

·        Between £1,150 and £1,550 for consultants

·        Between £1,140 and £2,120 for Specialty Doctors

·        Between £1,600 and £2,630 for Associate Specialists

·        Between £532 and £924 for Junior Doctors

Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed today that from 1 October 2018 consultants would see a 1.5 per cent increase this year - with further negotiations pending - but the value of both national and local clinical excellence awards would be frozen.

However, this is less than the two per cent recommended for salaried doctors by the independent pay review body.

The Department of Health Social Care announced that 0.5 per cent of the pay bill would be delivered through a new system of performance-related pay pay.

The health secretary said he took note of “particular issues of morale” in relation to specialty and association specialist doctors, which has led to their pay recommendation of a three per cent increase. He added a wider review of their role would follow after reform to the consultant contract.

Junior doctors will also see a two per cent increase in basic pay and the “value of the flexible pay premia”, Mr Hancock announced.

The government said this pay award takes into account the three-year contract reform of the Agenda for Change contract, the long-term funding settlement and contract reform for GPs.

A separate set of measures was proposed for GPs.

Mr Hancock said: ”Supporting the NHS workforce to deliver excellent care is a top priority. Following this one year pay rise, we want to open up a wider conversation on pay and improvements. This is the start of a process whereby we will seek to agree multi-year deals in return for contract reforms for consultant and GPs. We want to make the NHS the best employer in the world.

“In June this year nurses were awarded a multi-year award as part of a pay and contract reform deal and it is only right that pay rises are targeted at the lowest paid workers.”

Based on average salaries, the current pay bill for hospital doctors is £13.3bn. An average one per cent pay increase above the budgeted one per cent baseline (a total increase of two per cent) would represent a full year cost pressure to NHS trusts of £133m. As the increases are only being made from October 2018, this would halve the cost impact in 2018-19.

The DHSC confirmed to HSJ that for 2018-19 the costs will be absorbed within the existing DHSC settlement and from 2019-20 the funding will come from the NHS long-term funding settlement that was announced last month.

The BMA said the government’s announcement will only “make a bad situation much worse” and added it is “considering its next steps in response”.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “Employers welcome the steady progress towards ending the cap on earnings for NHS staff. We now need assurances around how such awards can be fully funded.”

Deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said this increase in pay “must be fully funded”.

“If – as seems almost inevitable – the additional costs of this increase are passed on to trusts it would increase their pay bill substantially,” Ms Cordery said.

“Trusts will have to find other ways of finding the money, with a real risk that that could impact on the quality of care,” she added.

Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: “Coming after many years of pay restraint, today’s increases for doctors and dentists, alongside the increase in salaries for nurses and other staff, is a welcome investment in the workforce who we know are vital to delivering the 10 year plan for the NHS.”

 HCSA President Ross Welch said: “Today’s announcement is a clear indication of a government in denial over the scale of the current medical workforce crisis.”

“The new secretary of state makes a mockery of NHS doctors by depicting this pay award as a recognition of the value and dedication of hardworking doctors,” Professor Welch said.

Salary rise for doctors below pay body's recommendation