The Government must recognise and fairly remunerate all doctors for their efforts during the COVID-19 crisis, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“Doctors from all branches of practice deserve equal recognition and reward for their tireless contributions during the pandemic”, the association has stated, following anger over unequal pay increases announced in the latest Doctors and Dentists Review Body pay recommendations.
Ministers announced pay awards for doctors in England on 21 July confirming that consultants and staff grade, associate specialist and specialty doctors would receive uplifts of 2.8%.
GP principals and junior doctors, who receive fixed multi-year pay awards as a result of pre-pandemic contractual agreements, were however left “incensed” at receiving lower salary increases, which the BMA said failed to recognise the vital contributions made by these doctors.
In a letter to Mr Hancock, the BMA said this decision was “completely unfair” and called for the Government to bring this increase in line with other branches of the medical profession.
The letter also calls for the “immediate release” of the COVID-19 national fund, announced at the beginning of the pandemic as a means of reimbursing GP practices incurring additional expenses as a result of the pandemic.
The disparity in pay awards to doctors in England contrasts with Scotland and Wales, where all doctors are to receive a 2.8% pay uplift in light of their efforts during the pandemic.
BMA consultants committee chair Rob Hardwood said the Government has also failed to recognise consultants' contributions in the fight against COVID-19 despite the pay rise.
In a newsletter to members, he said: “Many consultants have had to work without adequate protection, have demonstrated unbelievable resilience and determination, have had to go without seeing their families for long periods of time, and used their goodwill to keep working long hours, often unpaid.”