NHS pay rise: “nothing short of a kick in the teeth for hard-working doctors” says BMA Wales
A pay-rise for NHS staff across Wales has been described as “nothing short of a kick in the teeth for hard-working doctors” by one union.
It comes after today’s announcement that Health Minister Eluned Morgan has accepted the recommendations of NHS pay review bodies.
The recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), for all NHS staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions – including nurses, cleaners, porters, healthcare support workers and healthcare professionals, is for a £1,400 pay rise on most pay grades.
For the lowest paid staff (bands 1 to 4), which make up nearly half of the Agenda for Change workforce, this will on average equate to a 7.5% pay rise on pay grades.
The starting salary for the lowest paid roles in band 1 and the bottom of band 2 in NHS Wales will now be £20,758, this equates to a pay rise of 10.8% this financial year for this band.
For staff at the top of band 6 and in band 7, the £1,400 payment will be enhanced to be equivalent to a 4% pay rise.
Following a series of meetings with trade unions and representative bodies this week, the Welsh Government has committed to continue to explore a range of other issues raised as part of those discussions.
The Health Minister has also agreed the recommendations of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) to increase pay by 4.5% for junior doctors, consultants, GPs and dentists employed directly by the health boards.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “We are committed to working in social partnership and will continue to use our social partnership structures and bring together trade unions, employers and government to deliver the best possible outcomes for our NHS staff.
“I want to thank trade unions and representative bodies for taking the time to meet me this week and for the constructive discussions we have had.
“Our NHS staff have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic to keep us all safe and they continue to provide an incredible service in the face of intense pressures.
“I hope this pay award goes some way to recognise their hard work but without additional funding from the UK Government, there are inevitably limits to how far we can go in Wales. We continue to press them to pass on the full funding necessary for fair pay rises for public sector workers.
“We are all facing a cost-of-living crisis. We have structured this pay award so the lowest paid staff in the NHS would see the biggest uplift in their pay, equivalent to a 10.8% pay rise, making the NHS in Wales the highest-paying UK nation for staff in the lowest pay bands.”
Specialty and specialist doctors on the 2021 contract will receive a one-off £1,400 payment in recognition of the unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.
Specialty doctors on the 2008 contract will receive a 4.5% pay increase, but those on the top pay grade in the 2008 contract will receive a one-off payment equivalent to 4.5%.
The recommended 4.5% pay uplift in pay for contracted GPs and dentists is subject to overall contract changes by the General Medical and General Dental Services and negotiations are ongoing.
However today’s announcement has been slammed by BMA Cymru Wales, who argue the award amounts to “nothing more than a pay cut”.
In response to the announcement on doctors’ pay, BMA Cymru Wales Council Chair, Dr David Bailey said: “The shameful decision from Welsh Government not to implement the DDRB recommendations in full is nothing short of a kick in the teeth for hard-working doctors in Wales.
“In particular, this is a raw and divisive deal for SAS doctors, whereby some will receive a 4.5% uplift, and some will not.
“This award amounts to nothing more than a pay cut, and it comes at a time when doctors have endured years of below inflation pay rises and are being driven out of the NHS due to perverse, punitive pension rules.
“The timing of this pay cut could not be worse. Doctors have gone above and beyond throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to care for patients, putting themselves and their families’ lives at risk in the process.
“On top of that, they are working in an under-staffed, under-funded service and are now expected to deal with the longest waiting lists on record while paying the price for their commitment during the last two years, with high levels of exhaustion and burnout. It is easy to see why doctors are leaving the NHS at an alarming rate.
“Instead of grasping the opportunity to present Wales as a nation which values its staff, a nation which is ready to seriously address recruitment and retention challenges and a nation which ensures its citizens receive the care they deserve in a timely manner, Welsh Government has decided to follow the UK Government’s lead and further demoralise the workforce on which they so heavily rely upon.
“The problems facing the NHS make it absolutely clear that the safety of patients is underpinned by the availability and wellbeing of staff.
“Given the crucial role doctors have in ensuring NHS recovery begins at pace, now more than ever, an adequate pay award is necessary to aid recruitment and retention of staff.
“Of course, we are concerned that this consistently demoralised workforce will vote with their feet and leave the profession, creating an even greater level of despair for patients waiting for treatment in Wales.
“We will now consult with our members to gauge their views and consider our next steps and will request an urgent meeting with Welsh Government. In the meantime, in order to help restore the faith of hardworking doctors in Wales, we would like the minister to reconsider this award to curtail any further damage on the Welsh NHS.”
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