700 doctors could leave Welsh NHS over pay - union

time:2023-06-01 10:18:52 source:CBS News

Nearly 700 doctors are likely to leave the Welsh NHS as a result of a recent 4.5% pay rise, the British Medical Association has warned.

The warning follows a survey by BMA Cymru, in which more than half of the 1,397 respondents said they could leave and most felt morale had dropped.

The below-inflation pay rise will apply to consultants, junior doctors and GPs.

The Welsh government said it accepted the NHS pay review body's advice and was limited on how far it could go.

In the survey, doctors also warned the NHS is "close to collapse" with an overwhelming number of respondents saying they were exhausted and burnt out.

Dr Iona Collins, chairwoman of the BMA's Welsh Council, said the findings resonated with what she was hearing from colleagues across Wales.

"Doctors' take-home pay has reduced over several years, making the NHS an increasingly unattractive employer," said Dr Collins.

"To make matters worse, doctors are on the receiving end of complex pension tax bills, resulting in some doctors essentially working for free, and others finding out that they have lost money by going to work in the first place.

"This means that doctors cannot increase their usual working hours resulting in no chance of making significant progress to reduce waiting lists."

She said it was easy to understand why many senior doctors were retiring early, younger doctors moving abroad and many vacancies remained unfilled.

"We are running out of time," she added. "Crisis after crisis in our NHS is making headline news, with the two root causes relating to medical staffing and medical resources.

"Covid has accelerated a problem which has been evolving for years and there is no point having Covid recovery plans when there is not enough medical staff to deliver the existing services, let alone trying to increase the services available."

Conservative shadow health minister Russell George said the Welsh government "should stop saying they are being held back by the UK government - which itself is hamstrung by financial limits - and recognise that it signed up to the pay rise recommendation of an independent panel".

Plaid Cymru communities spokesperson Peredur Owen Griffiths said: "We've known for some time that doctors have been asked to do more, for less money, and these survey results confirm that this is taking its inevitable toll. Is it any wonder that so many are considering leaving?"

BMA Cymru representatives are due to meet Health Minister Eluned Morgan next month.

A Welsh government spokeswoman said: "In announcing our pay award for the NHS workforce in Wales, we made clear that without additional funding from the UK government, there are limits to how far we can go to address these concerns in Wales.

"We continue to press the UK government to provide additional funding necessary for fair pay rises for public sector workers."

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