BMA Press Release


New BMA poll show nine out of ten doctors regard latest government pay award as “unacceptable”

A BMA poll of more than 12,000 doctors in England shows that nine out of ten regard the recent pay offer from the government as unacceptable, while a similar number believe that their morale has worsened in the wake of the announcement.

The BMA received responses from 12, 717 doctors to its survey asking for their opinion on the pay uplifts for doctors in England which were published in July 2018.

In making the award, the government ignored the recommendations of the independent review body, which many already regarded as insufficient, and announced what the BMA described as an “inadequate” pay settlement. The deal will see junior receive just a 2% increase, consultants 1.5%  and GPs 2%.

The findings from the BMA show:

  • When asked how acceptable the government’s offer was, three quarters (74%) said it was “highly unacceptable” while almost two out of ten (18%) said it was “somewhat unacceptable”.
  • Less than one per cent of respondents regarding the deal as “highly acceptable”.
  • As result of the pay announcement, almost six out of ten (58%) felt “significant reduced” value working as a doctor in the NHS, while a further three in ten (30%) felt a “reduced” value.
  • Less than 1% felt more valued because of the pay uplifts, of this only 0.1% felt their morale had “significantly improved”.
  • In total, more than four in ten (45%) felt their morale had “significantly worsened”, while a four out of ten (40%) felt it had “worsened”.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair said

“Today’s survey findings of doctors in England should be a wake-up call for the Government. They have seriously misjudged the mood of the profession with what is another sub-inflationary pay award.

“The government’s decision to not implement the recommendations of the Doctors and Dentist’s Review Body (DDRB) has been compounded by its unjust decision to not back-date this pay award to April 2018 for hospital doctors. This is wholly contrary to the definition of an “annual” pay uplift.

“The government’s headline figures are inaccurate and misleading for doctors since this six month pay uplift commencing in October effectively halves its value for the year. Far from the government claiming to lift the pay cap for public sector workers, most doctors will continue to receive an uplift of 1% or less – and appear uniquely targeted in this unfair manner.

“For those thousands of our hard-working members and their families this is nothing more than an insult and the figures speak for themselves. More than 9 in 10 feel that the Government’s offer is unacceptable. Since 2008, doctors have experienced the largest drop in earnings of all professions subject to pay review bodies, with consultants seeing a 19 per cent fall in pay, junior doctors 21 per cent and GPs 20 per cent. The effective pay uplift this year for some doctors will be as little as 0.75 per cent as a result of the government’s interference form the pay body recommendations, which will be widely seen as derisory.

“After the Secretary of State’s recognition that NHS staff are feeling ‘under-valued’ what is most troubling is the devastating impact this has had on doctor morale. 84% say theirs has worsened in the wake of the Government’s offer, with 88% saying that the value they feel as a doctor working in the NHS has reduced over the past week.

“With the NHS facing severe shortages of doctors across all specialities, it is more important than ever that the Government recognises the contribution declining pay has had on the ability to recruit and detain doctors and takes steps to reverse this.

“These results give the Secretary of State compelling evidence to make tangible improvements to the morale and well-being of doctors. Back-dating the pay to April and increasing the offer would go a long way towards showing doctors that the Government does recognise their invaluable contribution and I look forward to meeting with the Secretary of State in person to discuss how this can be done.”


Notes to Editors

The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

A full copy of the survey findings can be found here.

Key questions from the survey include:

Overall, how acceptable is the pay offer from the Government?

Highly unacceptable


Somewhat unacceptable


Neither acceptable nor unacceptable 3.3%
Somewhat acceptable


Highly acceptable



Overall, how acceptable is the pay recommendation from the DDRB?

Highly unacceptable


Somewhat unacceptable


Neither acceptable nor unacceptable 12.4%
Somewhat acceptable


Highly acceptable



As a result of the government’s offer, has there been any change in how valued you feel working as a doctor in the NHS?

Significantly reduced




Neither increased nor reduced




Significantly increased



As a result of the government’s offer, how would you describe your current level of morale?

Significantly worsened




Neither improved nor worsened




Significantly improved






Paul Gadsby

Senior BMA Media Officer

T: 07827 858 992