Pay When Rotation Has Been Cancelled

Author: Emma Runswick

For many doctors, the cancellation of April rotations did not just mean loss of training, it also represented significant loss of expected pay. Those doing jobs without out-of-hours work in March would lose thousands by not moving into high-intensity jobs, through no fault of their own.

Colleagues who made financial decisions on the basis of expected pay, or reliant on this for childcare, stood to be particularly badly affected.

Several Broad Left supporters who are Local Negotiating Committee representatives* have won pay increases for trainees at multiple hospitals and we are involved in helping other reps secure this.

In these trusts, doctors are being paid the highest salary from:

  • The rota they are working
  • The rota they were expected to be working from April and had a work schedule for
  • The emergency Covid rota

For some trainees, this is worth £3700. Many more have gained over £2000.

We have argued for this on the basis of Schedule 2 of our contract.

71. Where changes to the work schedule are required by the employer and total pay would be decreased as a result, the doctor’s total pay will be protected and so remain unchanged until the end of the particular placement covered by that work schedule. This protection will not extend to any subsequent placement, including a placement where the doctor returns at a later date to the same post.

2016 Junior Doctor Contact in England, Version 8

Or 21h in the 2002 Contract, which says similar.

If you had a work schedule for April-August rotation before they announced rotation was cancelled, then you have experienced “changes to the work schedule” “required by the employer” “and total pay would be decreased as a result”. As such, you are entitled to the pay “until the end of the particular placement covered by that work schedule” (April-August).

If some trainees in your trust had a work schedule and some did not – i.e. a department didn’t get their work schedule out in line with the guidelines – then you have an argument that the department’s failure to send out work schedules should not disadvantage those trainees.

We gained support by emphasising our contractual rights, sharing the stories of doctors who were badly affected, building alliances with supportive members of management, and later by using examples of other trusts who had agreed this.

If you would like support to negotiate with your workplace or want to know more about becoming an effective BMA representative, contact us!

*Local Negotiating Committees (LNCs) are your local BMA representation. We encourage all Broad Left supporters who are hospital doctors to become LNC reps.

Pay and BMA Surveys

The BMA does not have the best track record with surveys, or their response to them. We have been accused in the past of subjecting our members to death-by-survey, and of hiding results, or ignoring them where they are not convenient. It is difficult to know what is true without being on the inside.

Now, however, we have great need for a survey. At the Annual Representative Meeting, the BMA was instructed to ‘identify actions to reflect the feeling of the profession’ on pay.

When the government made the pay ‘award’ last week, the need to survey our members and their willingness to take action became even more apparent.

In order to do this well, we need to explain the effects of prolonged pay restraint and the current offer, then suggest actions and ask if members would be willing to take that action.

We also need to show some leadership – by educating our members, who have had a slow-acting pay cut of around 20% over recent years. To add insult to injury, the latest pay cut offer is less than half of its apparent value. All doctors will lose out due to inflation, and the lack of backdating makes us suffer more. This year’s NHS staff survey has laid bare the realities of working life for doctors in the NHS, as detailed in the latest report of the Review Body of Doctors and Dentists Remuneration (DDRB):
• 80% of medical staff report regularly working unpaid extra hours
• 60% of doctors don’t feel they have enough time to do their job properly
• 30% of medics report their work is making them sick

We should say that we were disappointed by the DDRB recommended rises of 2% to doctors’ pay, which was wholly insufficient to address pay erosion across all doctor groups. Our confidence in the DDRB’s continued independence and utility has been shattered. We are further dismayed that the government has – in bad faith – gone further and halved the DDRBs miserable recommendation. The situation is untenable. We need to officially assess what our members are willing to do about it.

The survey sent via email to members this evening to has failed to do that. Only asking questions that are already asked via the NHS Staff Survey and we already know the answers to. It is embarrassing that the BMA feels the need to ask members if they are angry. As this survey was not run past elected Council representatives before it was sent, we have been left out of the strategic planning of the BMA’s response to another real terms pay cut.

 

We are demanding better, perhaps with a further survey, but definitely with a clear call for genuine action in response to the DDRB and Government failings.

Here are the kind of questions we would like to be asking you now:

 Would you:
  • write to your MP asking them to support the DDRB recommendation?

  • want the BMA to disengage from the DDRB and negotiate directly with government?

  • take action short of a strike – working to contract, refusing overtime and refusing to fill rota gaps? For how long?

  • take action short of a strike – refusing to collaborate with coding practices to damage the financial flow of the hospital without affecting patient care? For how long?

  • take half-day or late-start strike action? For how long?

  • take strike action to end elective treatment? For how long?

  • take strike action to bank holiday cover? For how long?

  • take all-out strike action for just your Branch of Practice (allowing other BoPs to cover)? For how long?

  • take ‘rolling’ strike action where your branch of practice takes strike action one day, and another branch of practice does the next day, and another the next day and so on? For how long?

  • take all-out strike action alongside other branches of practice? For how long?

We recommend members fill out the survey and use the free text comment box to tell the BMA what action you would be willing to take. Lobby Council members and branch of practice reps for a determined response to the pay offer.

Email us at broadleft[at]doctorsbroadsheet.org  if you’d like to get more involved in our campaign.