HCSA lodges DDRB submission with 3.9% pay claim to ease vacancy crisis

HCSA has today called for a 3.9 per cent pay rise for all hospital doctor grades following years of decline that have seen real-terms basic salaries fall by a fifth since 2010.

The professional association and trade union, which represents all grades of hospital doctors, formally lodged the claim in its submission to doctors’ and dentists’ pay review body the DDRB.

The pay claim follows research by HCSA and other organisations that paints a picture of rising vacancies and highlights the negative impact of this on hospital workforces.

More than 85 per cent of HCSA members said they had considered leaving the profession earlier than expected due to a range of factors including stress, pay and the physical conditions within hospitals.

Around 80 per cent reported their morale as low or very low.

Other recommendations made by the HCSA aimed at boosting recruitment and retention include:

  • A drive to improve doctors’ working environment
  • A joint investigation into the factors driving early retirement involving trade unions and employers
  • Improved flexible working measures

HCSA President Professor Ross Welch said: “We believe it is no coincidence that after a period where they have seen a 20 per cent pay decline hospital teams are routinely having to stretch themselves thinner to cover long-term vacancies across the NHS.

“A culture of unfilled vacancies puts more pressure on remaining medical staff and in the long term is incompatible with safe, high-quality patient care.

“With inflation rising and morale plummeting, it is time to take real steps to boost retention and the attractiveness of the profession or face a major staffing crisis.”

Key findings from recent HCSA research among members:

  • 79.5 per cent reported unfilled vacancies 
  • 65.2 per cent reported that these vacancies had been open more than 12 months 
  • 49.9 per cent reported that the existing team was covering unfilled vacancies
  • 74.4 per cent of hospital doctors said that they “always” or “often” work beyond contracted hours
  • 79.9 per cent of respondents reported their morale as “low” or “very low”
  • 85.3 per cent had considered leaving the profession early
  • 33.1 per cent reported that in a typical week they were unreasonably stressed at work “always” or “most of the time” 
  • Only 35.6 per cent said they would recommend hospital doctor as a career path
  • 85.6 per cent felt that current pay levels for hospital doctors are inappropriate

1. HCSA is a TUC-affiliated, nationally recognised professional association and trade union that represents all grades of post-graduate hospital doctor. We are currently one of only two parties alongside the BMA recognised by NHS Employers for the purposes of negotiating hospital doctors’ pay, terms and conditions in England.

2. HCSA’s full DDRB submission will be made public after all parties have lodged their contributions. The Department of Health informed the DDRB that it would miss the 18th December deadline and would instead respond next year.

3. RPI inflation between 2010-2017 stands at 23 per cent. The basic salaries of most doctors have risen 3 per cent over the same period.