‘Burned out’ doctors could refuse to do overtime over pay row

·3-min read
‘Burned out’ doctors could refuse to do overtime over pay row (PA Wire)
‘Burned out’ doctors could refuse to do overtime over pay row (PA Wire)

Doctors in England may refuse to do overtime if the government doesn’t improve their 1 per cent pay rise offer.

NHS heroes continue to bravely battle coronavirus on the frontline amid the pandemic.

Now the British Medical Association (BMA) are posed to ask members about halting paid and unpaid overtime unless the pay offer is closer to 4 per cent.

Patients wouldn’t be left unsupported by the move, it’s said.

It would only apply to doctors who were struggling with their extra work, the BMA consultants committee chair said.

Dr Vishal Sharma, deputy chair of BMA consultants committee, said: “The NHS has always relied on the goodwill of its staff, like consultants, to paper over the cracks in an under-funded NHS.

“This has never been the case more than during the pandemic when consultants have gone above and beyond to care for patients, putting themselves and their families lives at risk in the process. Consultants are exhausted, suffering from high levels of burnout and are expected to deal with the longest waiting lists on records. It is therefore essential to maintain the goodwill of consultants so that they can help to clear the patient backlog, undertake additional waiting list clinics and take on extra weekend work.

“Instead, with its suggestion of a pay award of 1 per cent, an effective pay-cut, the Government has left consultants feeling angry and undervalued.”

More than 4,000 letters were penned by doctors and members of the public to MPs demanding a significant pay rise as part of a British Medical Association campaign since the beginning of the pandemic.

The doctor added: “We absolutely understand how difficult this is. To be clear, consultants would not down tools. They would not leave patients unsupported and not looked after, but what we are talking about is really that kind of extra work that people are struggling to do and they are feeling underappreciated.

“Otherwise, when is this going to end? Goodwill is the glue that holds the NHS together and the government risks losing it. If it goes, services may collapse in the future.”

The government proposed the 1 per cent pay rise back in March and faced backlash for the move.

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in March that a decision to recommend the 1 per cent increase was proposed by an assessment of “what’s affordable as a nation” after the economic hit caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Unions have been calling for action to be taken to increase the rise to reflect the recognition of staff responding to the Covid pandemic.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are incredibly grateful to all our NHS staff. This year the Government has committed to providing a pay uplift for NHS staff, including consultants, when uplifts across the public sector have been paused, to acknowledge the extraordinary effort of NHS staff through the pandemic.

“We recognise the recommendations from the pay review bodies are an incredibly important issue and we will carefully consider them before responding.”

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