Wales hospital doctors urge political parties to deliver on pay pledge in face of ‘cliff edge’ on staffing



Hospital doctors’ union HCSA Wales / Cymru has urged the next government to uphold a pledge to honour commitments on pay to avoid a post-pandemic cliff edge on medical staffing.

Launching its Doctors Deserve Better pay campaign on the eve of the Welsh elections, the union said a “significant and meaningful” pay rise for all grades of hospital doctor was required to insulate the NHS against the impact of Covid on workforces.

HCSA’s research has highlighted how the aftermath of Covid pressures could drive doctors to change working patterns, cutting back on hours or leave the profession altogether.

The union warned that any backtracking by politicians after the election would undermine retention and recruitment in Wales at a time when both are essential to tackling a backlog of NHS work in coming months.

HCSA is calling on all Wales’s main political parties to commit to three steps to avert a staffing crisis:

  • A meaningful pay rise for hospital doctors of all grades, alongside NHS colleagues
  • A North Wales Medical School to increase the number of medics in training
  • A commitment to protect staff from burnout when planning to tackle the backlog of NHS work created by the pandemic.

HCSA research has revealed the risk of significant changes to working patterns by hospital doctors, many of whom have postponed life decisions such as maternity or retirement during to the pandemic, threatening a “double whammy” on staffing levels in coming months as the immediate demands of the pandemic ease.

Others are considering cutting their hours to part time or leaving the profession altogether as a result of the intense pressures created over the past 12 months.

HCSA President Dr Claudia Paoloni said:“The scale of the challenge now facing the NHS in Wales is two-fold. It needs to tackle a mountain of procedures and it needs to retain staff, now, to ensure that it can do that.

“It also needs to work to retain and recruit enough hospital doctors to meet the ongoing challenges the NHS faced, and that includes having a Wales-based centre of training and excellence to ensure the future flow of home-grown medics.

“Wales has been notable by its more positive stance on hospital doctors pay compared to its neighbours this year, but it must not now backtrack on this.

“We know that Covid is going to leave an indelible mark on the NHS and its staff, many of whom are now having to deal with the psychological fallout from the past 12 months.

“We urge politicians to take their next steps carefully. That means meaningful action on pay to tackle recruitment and retention, and it means respect for the precarious state of medics and their colleagues as the recovery plan is put in place.”

HCSA WALES / CYMRU IS CALLING FOR THE FOLLOWING TO AVERT A POST-COVID WORKFORCE CRISIS:

A significant and meaningful pay rise for hospital doctors of all grades for 2020-2021

HCSA’s Doctors Deserve Better campaign calls for a pay award that supports recruitment to the NHS, facilitates retention of current doctors and respects the hard work and experience of hospital doctors. HCSA has recommended a minimum of 3 percent in our submission to the DDRB pay review body. HCSA calls on the newly formed government to renew the commitment to implement any recommendation from the DDRB in full.

A North Wales Medical School to increase the numbers of medics in training

HCSA welcomes manifesto pledges from political parties to create a new medical school in North Wales, which will support the COVID-19 recovery. This will have a positive impact on staffing levels, in particular on Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. There are 289 medical and dental vacancies in Wales. HCSA warns that we are facing a cliff edge as doctors make life changes that were postponed due to the pandemic, such as retiring or reducing hours.Investment in recruitment and retention is vital as we face the COVID-19 backlog.

A focus on workforce well-being. HCSA welcomes political party pledges to invest in the NHS and prioritise wellbeing of the workforce

However, HCSA is concerned that a rush to ‘return to normal’ will lead to burnout of doctors, which could worsen the staffing crisis, and impact on quality of care for patients. Use of new technologies have been cited as a key factor in resuming planned care. Whilst we welcome this development, we would caution that doctors, already facing huge backlogs, will need a period of adjustment to refresh their skills, adapt to new technologies and access emotional support following the winter pressures.

Codiad cyflog sylweddol ac ystyrlon i feddygon ysbyty o bob gradd ar gyfer 2020-2021

Mae ymgyrch ‘Mae Meddygon yn Haeddu Gwell’ HCSA yn galw am ddyfarniad cyflog sy'n hyrwyddo recriwtio i'r GIG, yn hybu dargadwedd meddygon cyfredol ac yn parchu gwaith caled a phrofiad meddygon mewn ysbytai. Mae HCSA wedi argymell 3% yn ein cais i’r Corff Adolygu Meddygon a Deintyddion (DDRB). Mae HCSA yn galw ar y Llywodraeth sydd newydd ei ffurfio i adnewyddu'r ymrwymiad i weithredu unrhyw argymhelliad gan y DDRB yn llawn.

Ysgol Feddygol Gogledd Cymru i gynyddu nifer y meddygon dan hyfforddiant. 

Mae HCSA yn croesawu addewidion maniffesto gan bleidiau gwleidyddol i greu ysgol feddygol newydd yng Ngogledd Cymru, a fydd o gymorth yn yr adferiad yn sgil COVID-19. Bydd hyn yn cael effaith gadarnhaol ar lefelau staffio, yn enwedig ar Fwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr. Mae yna 289 o swyddi meddygol a deintyddol gwag yng Nghymru Mae HCSA yn rhybuddio ein bod ni ar ymyl y dibyn wrth i feddygon wneud newidiadau yn eu bywydau a ohiriwyd oherwydd y pandemig, fel ymddeol neu leihau eu horiau. Mae buddsoddi mewn recriwtio a dargadwedd yn hanfodol wrth i ni geisio ymdopi â’r holl achosion sydd wedi cronni yn dilyn COVID-19.

Ffocws ar lesiant y gweithlu. 

Mae HCSA yn croesawu addewidion gan y pleidiau gwleidyddol i fuddsoddi yn y GIG a blaenoriaethu llesiant y gweithlu. Fodd bynnag, mae HCSA yn pryderu y bydd rhuthro i 'ddychwelyd i normal' yn arwain at feddygon yn llosgi allan, a allai waethygu'r argyfwng staffio, gan effeithio ar ansawdd gofal i gleifion. Cyfeiriwyd at y defnydd o dechnolegau newydd fel ffactor allweddol wrth ailafael mewn gofal wedi'i gynllunio. Er ein bod yn croesawu'r datblygiad hwn, byddem yn rhybuddio y bydd angen cyfnod o addasiad ar feddygon, sydd eisoes yn wynebu nifer enfawr o achosion wedi cronni, i adnewyddu eu sgiliau, addasu i dechnolegau newydd a chael gafael ar gymorth emosiynol yn dilyn pwysau'r Gaeaf.