Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration 2021/22 pay round written evidence

Key messages

The impact of the NHS COVID-19 response on staff wellbeing and retention is vast and must not be understated. There is real fear among trust leaders that significant numbers of staff could choose to leave the NHS once the pandemic response has subsided.

• HR directors support higher pay uplifts than usual, and equal recognition, for all groups of doctors in light of the pandemic:
59% support a pay rise of 3% or above for all doctors
75% agree that specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors and consultants should receive the same uplift
53% support a pay increase for doctors in training above their contractual 2% rise (38% flagged that this was conditional on consultants and SAS doctors also receiving an uplift above 2%)
contract reform for SAS doctors and consultants is equally important to HR directors, and reform of consultants’ local clinical excellence awards (CEAs) is a priority.
88% view reform of SAS doctors’ contracts as important (35% "very important")
83% view a funded multi-year deal for consultants as important (35% "very important")
85% view reform of local clinical excellence awards (CEAs) as important, with 50% of those deeming it "very important"

• the ongoing trade-off between levels of pay and staff numbers, with funding for both being taken from the current five-year settlement for the NHS, has made it increasingly impossible for either issue to be satisfactorily addressed

• it is of the utmost importance to make fair, informed decisions on pay awards as quickly as possible for NHS staff who are tired and are working in incredibly challenging conditions. We are supportive of all efforts to ensure pay awards are implemented by April

• the pandemic has made it clearer than ever that the NHS needs a fully funded, agreed, workforce plan that gives the NHS the increases in long term workforce numbers and financial support for existing staff it so desperately requires

• recruitment activity in the NHS has been significantly disrupted by the pandemic, so vacancy figures must be viewed with caution. We believe that the headline figures of NHS Digital's vacancy data remain of immediate use, as they represent the situation as it was at the time, but year on year comparisons should be avoided

• work to address issues of racial inequality within the NHS is of vital importance, and must be adopted by trusts as the default, long-term approach to workforce management. The DDRB can play a valuable role in this work by carefully considering the impact of new pay recommendations, and other workforce recommendations, on ethnic minority doctors.

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