Junior doctors in England are beginning their sixth round of strike action as there is no prospect of a settlement in their contentious wage dispute with the government.
At the beginning of this year, the British Medical Association (BMA), the physicians’ organization, grabbed headlines when it said that pay had fallen so far behind inflation that its members would be better off pouring coffee than treating patients. The government has criticized this as being deceptive and has said that the typical hourly wage for a junior doctor is between £20 and £30.
In point of fact, the phrase “junior doctor” may refer to anybody from a physician who has just graduated from medical school all the way up to one who has ten years of experience or more. As medical professional advances in their career and acquires new skills or begins to specialize, their pay scale shifts dramatically as a result.
News requested that two young physicians, each at a different point in their careers, show us their pay stubs and provide an explanation of their income.
As a strike of physicians continues, the NHS declares, “We can’t take any more.”
Why rumors of a doctor shortage in the UK are premature
After completing his studies for a master’s degree in infectious disease biology, Dr. Robert Gittings was able to graduate from medical school in Liverpool.
He began his first year as a junior doctor in London during the summer of last year, and he is presently working on the infectious diseases ward as part of his rotation. Rotation is a way for physicians to get experience in a variety of specialties within medicine.
“In my hospital, we have a lot of TB patients, people with uncontrolled HIV, and we also get pneumonia, and occasionally we have a tropical infection coming in,” he adds. “We also get pneumonia and, sometimes, we get a tropical infection coming in.”
Wage slip detailing monthly payments and allowances, indicating that base pay is £14.09 per hour and London weighting is £1.04 per hour, as well as additional payments for night hours amounting to an extra 37% of basic pay and weekend employment receiving a flat fee of £122.43 per month. The total number of hours worked was 189.35 hours, and the total remuneration before taxes was £3,117.36.
Robert receives a base wage before taxes of around £2,450 per month for working a regular 40-hour work week. This comes out to a little more than £14 per hour. Then there are the extra hours that are required for his roster, bringing the total number of hours he works in a typical week up to 48.
His income will increase in October in two ways as a result of what the government refers to as a “final offer”: a direct 6% pay hike and a permanently added £1,250 to yearly earnings – both backdated to April. Additionally, his annual salary will increase by a total of £1,250.
However, this is a far cry from the boost of 35% that the British Medical Association (BMA) has been requesting in order to compensate for years of below-inflation raises.
The most recent wage proposal would amount to around $250 before taxes for Robert each and every month.
Additionally, he gets the following monthly supplemental payments:
An additional one pound and four pence per hour to account for the more significant cost of living in London
An additional £147 for night work, or almost $5 before taxes per hour in June
A consistent £122 per month despite the fact that he is required to work one every five or six weekends.
“Sometimes night shifts might be incredibly hectic,” he explains. “It really depends on the situation.” “There have been occasions when I’ve had to treat a patient by myself who is deteriorating, and I have to do everything for them, simply with instruction by text message,” the doctor said. “It’s been a challenge.”
Wage slip detailing monthly deductions, showing income tax to be £362.40 and national insurance to be £248.32, as well as a pension payment to be £257.63, student loan repayment to be £75.00, and mess fees to be £10.00, for a total of £953.35 in deductions for the month.
Before beginning their careers as junior physicians like Robert, most students spend between five and six years getting their medical degrees.
According to him, he graduated with around £50,000 worth of debt, which included his tuition fees, and he paid back £75 price of student loans from his paycheck in June.
There are also additional deductions, such as £257, or 9.8% of his income, for a pension, to which the NHS contributes 20.6%, according to the most recent career average plan. This contribution is more than the majority of annuities offered by the private sector.
After paying taxes and other deductions, Robert ended the month of June with a total take-home pay of £2,164. This equates to an annual salary of around £37,000 when taken into whole consideration.
He claims that he is now thinking about taking a year off to work in another country, most likely in Australia. He adds, “I’m not certain that the salary here is going to increase as much as I’d want it to.” “I’d like it to,” is the phrase he uses. “If I were in that area, I may give remaining there some serious thought.”
Dr. Kiran Rahim graduated from medical school in 2011 and is now working as a pediatric registrar, which is one of the junior doctor classes that requires the most extraordinary experience. She handles unwell children.
“I was at work yesterday, and it was extremely, really busy,” she adds. “I was really, really exhausted.” “I was in charge of the emergency room, which meant that I was responsible for taking in all of the pediatric referrals and all of the unwell children who needed to be seen.
“And then supervising the acute stay ward, making sure the children were receiving their therapy, obtaining scans for them, and organizing appointments for them,”
Wage slip for monthly payments and allowances, displaying base pay at £27.99 per hour, London weighting at £1.04 per hour, and flexible training payments of £83.33 per month. Also included are additional fees for night shifts as an extra 37% of basic pay and weekend employment as a flat payment of £132.37 per month. The total number of hours worked was 118.41, and the total remuneration before taxes was £3,946.34.
Her training, as well as the amount of time she has spent as a junior doctor, has been “elongated” as a result of the fact that Kiran took a break of three years to have children of her own and is now working part-time in order to care for her small family.
She works an average of three days per week, and she receives a basic wage before taxes of around £3,315 per month. This comes out to just less than £28 per hour, which is the same pay as a full-time physician. She, too, is subject to London weighing, just as Robert is.
In July, she received an additional £292 in compensation for working night hours, in addition to an additional £132 for performing one weekend out of every six or seven.
She claims that the “great majority” of young physicians at her level wind up working additional unpaid hours before they can go home at the end of the day.
She continues by saying, “I can’t just abandon a sick patient because it’s hazardous, and it’s not fair on the folks who are already battling fire on the next shift.”
Slip from the payroll department detailing monthly deductions, showing income tax of £1,060.46 and national insurance of £389.83, in addition to a pension payment of £336.93, for a total of £1,787.22 in deductions for the month.
Kiran did pay a higher amount of tax than usual in July, as demonstrated by her payslip. This was after she said that she worked more shifts earlier this year to cover staff illness; the HMRC is expected to reimburse this money at a later date.
She has just completed the process of paying off her school debt, but she reports that similar to other junior physicians, there are inevitable charges that do not appear on her payslip.
To remain on the GMC’s physicians’ register, she must submit an annual fee of £433. She was required to pay a significant amount of money in order to maintain her membership in the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which amounts to thousands of pounds.
In addition, there is the expense of purchasing personal indemnity insurance, which comes to just under 700 British pounds a year, to cover her in the event that she is brought to court for medical negligence.
Kiran estimates that she brings home around £2,400 per month, after accounting for taxes and other deductions, even though she works 27 hours each week. If she worked a full-time job, she would bring in something in the neighborhood of £69,000 a year in compensation.
“Pay is essential, but so are all of the other things that make you want to go to work,” she adds. “There are a lot of factors that make people want to go to work.” “This is not the job I signed up to do 10 years ago, and I have seen a loss in morale, in our working environment, and in our working circumstances,” she said. “I have witnessed a fall in morale, in our working environment, and in our working conditions.”
The government has said that it has adopted the most current recommendations made by an independent pay review group, and its most recent offer provides an 8.8% annual pay boost for the typical junior doctor in England.
According to Steve Barclay, the Secretary of Health and Social Care, “Our award balances the need to keep inflation in line while still appreciating the essential job they undertake.”