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BMA Condemn Government pay cut for NHS staff

David Cameron once promised that the NHS was safe in Tory hands. But then he also said there would be no top down reorganisation. On both counts his lips say one thing, the government's deeds say another. The one thing we can do without in the NHS is a demoralised staff, yet this is what we have. We have an NHS struggling to make ends meet with cuts of billions of pounds from budgets taking their toll. Now we have an insulting pay increase to NHS workers.

Thursday's announcement from the Government that doctors will be subject to another real terms pay cut highlights its abject failure to find a fair and sustainable solution to the funding crisis imposed on the health service the doctors union, the BMA says.

The decision to yet again penalise doctors devalues and disrespects the vital role of frontline staff in the NHS.

Jeremy Hunt has said that the continued erosion of staff pay is ‘not sustainable’ yet he has chosen to ignore his own advice. Despite the Government announcing that staff will receive a 1% pay rise, the reality is the vast majority of doctors face another real terms pay cut, with some not receiving any uplift for up to three years.

Commenting, Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council, said:

“NHS doctors have now seen their real terms pay cut for the fifth year in a row. Despite how the government have tried to present it, doctors are being left worse off, year on year.

“This comes at a time when demand but also productivity across the NHS is rising, and demonstrates just how little the Coalition Government values its NHS staff given the fact they seem determined to balance the NHS budget on the backs of those working on the frontline.

“While the BMA understands the economic constraints the NHS faces, the continued erosion of pay undermines the excellent work and dedication to patient care from doctors and other NHS staff, and only goes to highlight the Government’s failure to find a meaningful and sustainable solution to the funding crisis imposed on the health service.

“At a time when doctors are working harder than ever before to meet rising demand, it is not surprising that doctors’ morale is going down when today’s announcement means that staff are once again bearing the brunt of the Government’s cuts.

“Overstretched doctors are covering for a recruitment crisis. In hospital emergency departments, severe doctor shortages combined with underfunding has produced the perfect storm – a crisis in patient care.

“The continued chipping away of pay means consultant pay is now, in real terms, lower than it was over a decade ago. GPs will also be unfairly hit. Despite delivering substantial efficiency savings while at the same time facing ever increasing workload pressures and patient demand, today’s announcement will continue to see practice income eroded as practice expenses increase disproportionately to income.

“How can the Government expect to engage constructively with doctors on pay and conditions when it continues to devalue them year on year?

“The Government has set itself the target of reducing the NHS budget by £20 billion but has so far found no realistic plan to achieve this except for punishing those on the frontline by chipping away at their pay and dressing this up as ‘efficiency savings’. Jeremy Hunt has said that the continued erosion of staff pay is ‘not sustainable’ yet he has chosen to ignore his own advice. “What message does it send to our hard-working doctors, nurses and other frontline staff when NHS managers have enjoyed a rise of 13 per cent since 2009 and yet doctors’ pay is being outstripped by inflation year after year? If we are going to meet the challenges the NHS faces head on the Government should be working with, not against, those doctors on the ground with the values, knowledge and professional judgement best placed to drive innovation and deliver real savings while all of the time protecting patient care.”

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