Seniors’ boss calls for end to pay cuts

By Charles King

Consultants’ pay from the NHS is a dozen years out of date, according to the chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee.

Dr Paul Flynn warned: ‘While workloads are rising, doctors’ pay has been steadily chipped away at in recent years, leaving consultant pay, in real terms, back at 2003 levels.

‘This is because billions of the Government’s so-called “efficiency savings” in the NHS have, in fact, come from cuts to front-line staff pay, leaving doctors feeling devalued and demoralised.’

He said with only weeks until the general election, consultants were calling on politicians to ‘stop playing games with the NHS’.

They wanted them to put patient care first by listening to senior doctors’ concerns about NHS funding, creeping commercialisation of services and rising workload pressures which lead to burnout.

The effect of rising pressure on services was exposed in recent BMA surveys, where half of consultants described their workload as unmanageable and identified excessive workloads as the greatest barrier to delivering the care they wanted to for patients.

Many consultants routinely worked across seven days, with nine in ten senior doctors working evenings and weekends as part of an on-call rota and seven in ten reporting they did not have adequate rest periods between shifts.

The BMA said excessive workloads and stressful working environments were leading to burnout and a recruitment and retention crisis in some specialties, such as emergency medicine, as junior doctors chose to train in other areas of medicine or existing doctors left the NHS.