HCSA calls for above-inflation pay rise to head off medical staffing exodus

HCSA has lodged a claim for an inflation-busting pay award for 2022-23 to head off plunging pay and help retain an exhausted medical workforce.

The submission to the DDRB pay review body, with a claim above RPI inflation for all grades, also highlighted the inadequacy of last year’s pay award and the blow again dealt to junior doctors in England left out of what the government labelled a “Covid reward”.

Warning that the 2021-22 process “failed to restore faith in the role of the DDRB”, HCSA called for reform of the body to ensure greater transparency, representation from among the medical profession and true independence from government.

In lodging its HCSA asked the DDRB to recognise pressures on take home-pay including soaring inflation and planned rises to national insurance, as well as planned increases to pensions contributions for lower-paid hospital doctors.

HCSA also raised the alarm on the worsening situation in terms of morale, stress and burnout among medical staff, warning that urgent action is required to reduce the damaging pressure they are under. HCSA data shows that 59.5 percent of hospital doctors struggled with their mental health in the past 12 months, and 1 in 10 reported having suicidal thoughts.

It added that poor employment practices experienced by Junior Doctors, including employers flouting policy on notice periods and rotas, send a clear message that Junior Doctors are not valued - compounded for those in England who were excluded from last year’s pay award.

Among its key recommendations, HCSA’s 2022-23 DDRB submission calls for:

  • For all grades: a baseline rise of at least RPI plus the costs of any national insurance rise for all groups, with a meaningful additional uplift to address erosion of pay for doctors at every grade
  • For Junior Doctors in England and Wales: an additional component mitigating the impact of any pension contribution increase
  • For Junior Doctors in England: an additional 1.8 percent in recognition of the devastating impact of last year’s pay award in the context of inflation, Covid pressures and interruption to training
  • For SAS Doctors in England: an additional reimbursement for SAS doctors on the 2021 contract to reflect inflation and financial disadvantage compared to those who did not sign the new contract
  • Clinical Excellence Awards and Commitment awards value to increase at the same rate to halt a further reduction to the overall pay envelope

HCSA has also strengthened pressure for a full review into the ethnicity pay gap in medicine, urging: “It is now time for the DDRB to join calls for a full review on the ethnicity pay gap in medicine.”