BMA Scotland has taken a strong position of opposition against pay plans for doctors in the nation.
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s announcement that doctors’ pay will again be restricted to a 1% uplift, Chair of BMA Scotland Dr Peter Bennie asserted that the decision is tantamount to a pay cut.
“The announcement that yet again the pay of doctors in Scotland will go up by just 1% while the rate of inflation is at 2.3% means that once again doctors pay will decline in real terms. Repeated years of real terms cuts to doctors’ pay have taken a substantial toll on incomes and do nothing to address the significant recruitment and retention difficulties across all grades of doctor.”
Bennie also suggested that the decision was particularly unfair considering the pressures on doctors in the current NHS climate.
“At a time when doctors’ workloads are increasing like never before, there will be widespread disappointment and anger at the decision to continue this approach.”
Chair of BMA Scotland’s consultants’ committee Simon Barker was similarly concerned that healthcare professionals are not being appropriately remunerated.
“It is with great disappointment that we learn today that the Scottish Government has decided to ignore the recommendation of its independent pay review body to recognise and value the hard work of NHS consultants for the second year running.”
Barker also expressed specific concern about the subtext of the pay deal and what it would mean to those potentially entering the profession.
“The lack of discretionary point uplift and ongoing distinction award freeze give exactly the wrong message to a consultant workforce that has been delivering more and more, year on year, from an already inadequate budget. These long-standing elements of the defined pay structure for consultants are intended to recognise those who contribute most in the delivery of safe, high quality care to patients and to leading continuous improvement of NHS services.”
The chair of BMA Scotland’s consultants’ committee also noted that evidence indicates that the situation for doctors in Scotland is likely to get worse before it gets better.
“Most recent figures confirm a worsening problem with almost 7% of consultant posts in Scotland unfilled, with nearly half of these empty for more than six months. We will never recruit and retain the specialists that our health service needs if we fail to recognise and reward their efforts.”
There are approximately 157,000 NHS staff in Scotland for a population of 5,295,400.
Of approximately £34.7 billion controlled by the Scottish Government, around £11.9 billion is spent on health.