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Be bold, be forthright and show you have teeth, HCSA tells DDRB pay body

HCSA leaders have told doctors’ pay review body the DDRB "to show it has teeth" and tackle long-term pay erosion.

At a face-to-face meeting with DDRB members general secretary Dr Paul Donaldson (pictured, right) and Junior Doctors’ Committee chair Dr Karim Salem (left) said it must “put a marker in the sand” on real-terms cuts to salaries in order to win back the trust of the medical profession.

Dr Donaldson warned the panel that too often the DDRB had in the past limited itself due to political constraints on its remit.

“The DDRB structure is the root cause of a lot of problems on pay erosion,” he advised its members. “Being fair and being seen to be fair and unshackled from government is crucial if we are going to resolve current disputes.”

He added that changes negotiated during consultant pay talks should give the DDRB a freer hand than previously, but it should not wait to see if proposed reforms to the process are ratified by members before acting.

“Now is the time for you to be more bold. Be bold, be forthright. Show that the DDRB has teeth.”

Dr Karim Salem laid bare the pressures the medical profession faces.

“At the heart of this are doctors who have sacrificed their entire lives to be where they are now. It’s a long slog. I’ve had to move my family several times for placements. You sacrifice everything that’s precious to you and expect to be able to afford the basics.”

Dr Donaldson also made clear that consultants do not feel the current offer, if accepted, can be the final word on pay for the year.

HCSA has called on the pay review body to make recommendations for a substantial award for every grade of doctor across the UK.

Read HCSA's written evidence to DDRB 2024-25