Junior doctor pay must be equal across UK

FOUNDATION doctors in England and Northern Ireland should be given a pay rise to bring their salaries in line with the rest of the UK, the BMA has said.

Scottish and Welsh trainee doctors’ pay was increased by 1.5 per cent last year, in line with recommendations from the independent pay review body DDRB. But this was vetoed in the rest of the UK by then health secretary Andy Burnham who allowed only a one per cent rise, creating a disparity in earnings.

The BMA has now submitted its 2011-2012 evidence to the DDRB asking them to “recommend that the government equalise salaries for foundation doctors across the United Kingdom by raising basic salary in England and Northern Ireland.”

Shree Datta, co-chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee, said: “We think this disparity is a huge shame and hugely frustrating. New doctors graduating from medical school already have a graduate debt of up to £30,000 and are looking at a very low starting salary. That England and Northern Ireland did not honour this increase is shameful. We would like to see this corrected as a matter of urgency.”

Deputy chair of the JDC Eleanor Draeger added: “The contract for junior doctors is a British contract that applies across the four nations, and it should remunerate all doctors fairly. We would hope that this situation is redressed as it will come to affect the increasing number of junior doctors who rotate across borders during their training.”

Foundation doctors who earn more than £21,000 a year will be subject to the two-year pay freeze implemented across the public sector last summer. The DDRB has not been invited by the government to make any recommendations on pay for 2011-12, but has asked for evidence on recruitment, retention, and morale from stakeholders such as NHS Employers and the departments of health for the UK nations.

In its submission, the BMA has highlighted low morale amongst junior doctors, in particular the dissatisfaction about remuneration amongst foundation and specialty doctors.

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