NHS Providers submission to the review body on doctors’ and dentists’ remuneration 2019/20 pay round
We welcome the opportunity to submit evidence to the Doctor's and Dentists' Remuneration Review Body (DDRB), on behalf of NHS trusts and foundation trusts to inform the 2019/20 pay round.
- Workforce pressures are among the most pressing challenges facing NHS providers. The sector is facing significant recruitment and retention challenges, with 9,300 recorded vacancies for doctor's posts and a significant proportion of doctors aged over 55, with a majority of those looking to reduce their hours.
- A fair and meaningful pay award for doctors is an important element of supporting the recruitment and retention of a motivated medical workforce. A majority (52%) of HR directors surveyed were in support of a pay rise for doctors of 3% or above.
- However affordability challenges are also op of mind for the provider sector. The cost pressure of the unfunded pay rise for doctors in 2018/19 was significant and we urge the Pay Review Body to take account of affordability in any recommendation they make for the 2019/20 pay round. It will be essential that any pay award is fully funded and that additional cost pressures resulting from a pay award are not passed on to trusts.
- While the NHS long term plan acknowledges the significant workforce challenges facing the sector and commits to increasing the NHS workforce, it is disappointing that the national workforce strategy has been further delayed. The success of the NHS long term plan and the sustainability of the NHS are reliant on having sufficient staff numbers, access and funding for training and continuing professional development, and importance placed on the culture and staff wellbeing.
- There is a lack of appetite among trusts for the government to introduce a new contract without agreement from the British Medical Association (BMA). Ongoing uncertainty over future terms and conditions for consultants is doing little to help local planning and moral among senior doctors, and as such, we feel an agreement in 2019 should be among the government's priorities for workforce reform.
- The closed associate specialist doctor grade provides trusts with greater flexibility around skills mix, deployment of staff, as well as providing flexibility for doctors to work less than full time. Of HR directors responding to our survey, 61% said that they would be in favour of reintroducing this grade, and there may be scope for this grade to alleviate some of the pressures on workforce planning and career development for middle grade doctors.