NHS junior doctor salary rise 2015 UK: How does pay compare to other professions? And will health secretary Jeremy Hunt's offer make much difference?

 
Sarah Spickernell
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Jeremy Hunt is trying to bring the BMA back to the negotiating table
Jeremy Hunt is trying to bring the BMA back to the negotiating table (Source: Getty)

Earlier today, health secretary Jeremy Hunt offered an 11 per cent salary increase to junior doctors across the country.

If the change is introduced, it will take the starting salaries of 50,000 NHS doctors up from £22,636 to £25,500.

But the rise isn't just a random act of generosity towards the medical profession – Hunt is trying to prevent industrial action being taken by doctors, who will start voting in a ballot prepared by the British Medical Association (BMA) tomorrow.

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They aren't happy with a new work contract due to be imposed by the government next year, which will see the weekend no longer classed as anti-social hours in a bid to make the NHS more of a seven-day service. If the weekend is no longer classed as anti-social hours, it means fewer extra payments for doctors.

So, if they accept the pay rise in return for the contract changes, how will the salaries of junior doctors compare with the starting salaries in other professions?

According to the latest figures from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), doctors currently fall a long way behind lawyers and bankers, and some way behind a number of other professions such as IT, accountancy and engineering.

The 11 per cent rise, which would amount to almost £3,000, would still keep it behind all of these professions, but would put it ahead of the average public sector starting salary of £23,700.

So far, reception of the offer hasn't been great – while it will benefit the majority of young doctors in the short term, the proposal comes hand-in-hand with the removal of guaranteed pay rises, so that pay is directly linked to progress through dedicated training stages.

The union has not yet made a decision on whether to scrap the industrial action – it says it needs to look at the new proposals in more detail before making a decision.

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