The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned the government that it will consider withdrawing from the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) process if the DDRB’s independence and original purpose is not restored.
In a joint statement to the health secretary Matthew Hancock, the BMA and British Dental Association (BDA) warn that confidence in the independence and effectiveness of the DDRB has been destroyed by the interference of successive governments. The association says the review process is “no longer acceptable”.
The statement calls for restitution of the DDRB’s independence and return to its original purpose of making recommendations on pay rather than on wider contractual matters, and seeks assurance that the government will no longer attempt to restrict or influence the review body’s recommendations.
“The view of the BMA and BDA is that the DDRB process has been modified beyond recognition from its original purpose. This has been developing over a number of years but is now clearly no longer acceptable to the medical and dental professions,” the BMA says.
The organisations have called for:
Restitution of the DDRB's independence and return to its original purpose.
Revision of its terms of reference to narrow the DDRB's focus purely on pay uplifts rather than making recommendations on wider contractual matters.
Clear timetables for submission of evidence and publications of the report, and an undertaking that government(s) must not fetter the parameters of the DDRB's recommendations.
Re-establishment of the undertaking that government(s) will respect and implement the DDRB's recommendations.
The BMA has warned that unless the requirements are met, it will consult members on the association’s further participation in the DDRB process which was set up, among other things, to avoid dispute in relation to pay demands.
The health secretary has been given a deadline of 12 weeks to respond.