DDRB recommends pay rise of 1% for doctors

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  28 Mar 2017

UK doctors should receive a 1% pay rise in 2017-18, the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) has said.

The BMA said that the recommended increase was below the current cost of living and would come as a “bitter blow” to doctors.

In a report outlining its recommendations for 2017-18, the DDRB said that there should be a base increase of 1% to the national salary scales for salaried doctors in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It also said that the maximum and minimum of the salary range for salaried GPs should be increased by 1%.[1] In a separate report the DDRB made the same recommendations for salaried doctors in Scotland.[2]

The DDRB recommended that the flexible pay premiums included in the new junior doctors’ contract in England should increase by 1%, as should the value of the awards for consultants, such as clinical excellence awards, discretionary points, and commitment awards.

The DDRB’s report said that it had considered whether it should recommend a higher pay award “in light of wider economic forecasts, plus the increasing demands being made on the goodwill of our remit groups.”

But it said that the affordability of any higher settlement was weakened by the government’s decision to borrow more, and the increased demands on NHS services. “In view of the pressures, alleviating workload and fostering job satisfaction rather than increasing pay would still appear to be the more important priorities for improving motivation,” the report said. “Overall we feel there is a continuing, though diminishing, case for 1% again this year, if this enables more staff to join the service to alleviate workload pressures.”

Responding to the recommendations Mark Porter, BMA Council chair, said that the pay review was “nothing other than a cover for driving down real pay in the health service.”

“The DDRB is recommending a 1% pay uplift for doctors, well below the cost of living rise of 2.3%,” Porter said. “In real terms, doctors’ pay has sharply declined in the past five years, with junior doctors seeing their income drop by 17% at a time when their morale has been badly hit by the government’s mishandling of the new contract. Over the same period, consultants have seen their pay drop by 14% and GPs by 13%.”

Porter said that doctors will be angry at the recommendation as it comes at a time when many are working harder than ever. “We will analyse the report in detail, but these recommendations will come as a bitter blow to a workforce already wondering if the government knows or cares about the demoralising effect of year-on-year pay cuts,” he said.


  1. Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration. Forty fifth report 2017. 2017. [Link] .
  2. Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration. Forty fifth report 2017 Scotland supplement. 2017. [Link] .

Abi Rimmer BMJ Careers


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