Emergency statement from the HCSA Executive on hospital doctors' pay

HCSA’s executive met in emergency session last night and agreed the following statement on hospital doctors’ pay:

HCSA deplores the actions of the government in attempting to pre-empt the deliberations of the DDRB pay review body by stating that it has budgeted only for a 1 percent pay settlement for NHS hospital doctors. In a year in which the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee anticipates inflation will “rise sharply” this will represent a real-term pay cut.

This is a significant error of judgement at a time when many hospital doctors are facing a personal wellbeing crisis and have sacrificed weeks of leave and personal professional development and training to mount the Covid response and assist in tackling the elective backlog it has created, which will create huge additional pressures for several years.

We call on the government to see sense and rethink its approach on pay, which we predict will have a devastating impact on the morale and career intentions of many hospital doctors. It will compound the effects of the Chancellor’s damaging freeze to pensions lifetime allowance which will drive many of our most senior NHS Consultants to retire earlier.

Hospital doctors do not accept the argument that there is insufficient funding to underpin a pay settlement which properly recognises the precarious workforce situation we face, and at a time when the expectation is that medical staff will now accelerate catch-up work. As we have seen in the billions earmarked for other spending deemed crucial, it is a simple matter of priorities. Our view is that steps to ensure the retention of hospital doctors must be made the highest priority as we exit the pandemic.

HCSA’s executive has therefore resolved to:

  • Lobby widely on the issue of hospital doctors’ pay in the long-term interests of the NHS and our patients
  • Press the DDRB pay review body to ignore the unacceptable attempt to pre-empt its deliberations
  • Campaign publicly to raise awareness of the need to retain hospital doctors in order to ensure the stability of health services
  • Canvass HCSA members on the steps they are willing to take in order to secure an appropriate pay rise
  • Co-ordinate our actions jointly where possible with fellow TUC health unions

We shall be discussing further steps at a meeting of the full HCSA Council on 17th March.