Commenting on the statements on public sector pay in today’s Budget, Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council, said:
“We’re concerned that the Chancellor is seeking to meddle in NHS pay processes. As MPs noted this week, pay restraint cannot be seen as a long term savings strategy for the NHS. Efficiency gains will be achieved by focusing on quality, not by suppressing pay.
“Healthcare workers are at the forefront of the drive to improve efficiency in the NHS. They have already undergone major changes to their pensions, and many doctors have been subject to real terms pay cuts for several years. Pay progression is not automatic for most senior doctors.
Commenting on the Chancellor’s confirmation that NHS funding will continue to be protected, Dr Porter said:
“We welcome the fact that the Government continues to recognise the importance of the NHS, and the scale of cost inflation in healthcare. However, it is not the case that health has been exempted from the financial pressures facing the rest of the public sector. The NHS has been asked to deliver cost savings of £20 billion by 2015. Posts are being cut and services are being rationed.”
Commenting on the announcement of a reduction in duty on beer, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA’s Director of Professional Activities, said:
“We’re getting mixed messages from the Government about its commitment to tackling the harm caused by alcohol misuse. On one hand the Prime Minister says he wants to crack down on cheap alcohol, and on the other the Chancellor announces a penny less on beer. “The success of the Government’s alcohol strategy for England and Wales will be undermined if cheap booze continues to be available. We urge the Government to demonstrate that it is committed to tackling alcohol misuse and introduce a minimum unit price.”