Doctors should not be hit with a large tax bills after working extra hours to deal with Covid-19 and instead should be properly rewarded for their ‘extraordinary efforts’ during the pandemic.
BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul has written to the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB) urging recognition of the ‘resilience, dedication and professionalism’ shown by doctors, particularly with many healthcare workers tragically losing their lives.
Dr Nagpaul said staff had been ‘extremely flexible’ – working long hours in unfamiliar roles, without access to sufficient personal protective equipment and lack of clarity over death-in-service cover.
Doctors have also had to deal with lack of childcare support and have faced severe clinical pressures while managing system changes, and showing considerable skill in caring for patients in new ways.
UK Government needs to fairly remunerate our doctors
Dr Nagpaul said: "You will be aware that the UK Government has developed significant financial support packages for businesses demonstrating its willingness to spend when it is felt necessary.
"However, initiatives announced to support doctors on the front line have fallen short of appropriate recognition of the tireless efforts of our doctors. This is in stark contrast to the appreciation shown by the public for NHS and social care staff recently. It is important that the UK Government does the same and fairly remunerate our doctors."
The BMA submission to the DDRB calls for doctors across the UK to be awarded at least RPI (retail price index) inflation and a mechanism to counter the real-terms pay cuts since 2000 and for the DDRB to support calls to the UK government to overhaul pension taxation policies.
It also demands support for calls for NHS pay policies to promote equal opportunities for all genders.
In the letter Dr Nagpaul raises concerns that working conditions may result in a high rate of staff attrition – with evidence from a recent BMA survey suggestion that more than 40% of doctors were suffering with a mental health condition owing to or made worse by their work.
Dr Nagpaul also said any pre-agreed pay deals – such as those with junior doctors and GPs – should be supplemented to reflect the ‘current situation’.