Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 16:46 UK

Doctor and dentist pay rises 1.5%

Stethoscope
GP pay has risen to 110,000 on average under a new contract

Doctors and dentists in the UK are to get 1.5% pay rises this year.

Ministers announced they were happy to accept the figure, which was recommended by the Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration Review Body.

Unions said the professionals deserved more, but accepted the recession made public sector pay decisions difficult.

Pay has been a controversial issue in recent years with new contracts for GPs, dentists and hospital consultants leading to large rises.

GPs, in particular, have been targeted with ministers imposing two years of pay freezes.

We appreciate that a measure of financial restraint is necessary in the current economic climate
John Milne, of the British Dental Association

And despite the decision by ministers to agree to the recommended rise, both the British Medical Association and British Dental Association were mildly critical after asking for more.

However, it has proved far less of a contentious issue than in previous years because of the financial climate.

John Milne, of the BDA, said the rise was not enough to ensure proper investment in "premises and equipment".

But he added: "We appreciate that a measure of financial restraint is necessary in the current economic climate."

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum added: "While we appreciate that tough decisions have to be taken during this period of economic difficulty, holding back on doctors' pay is not the answer.

"Health services will be under intense pressure as the recession takes its toll on people's health.

"NHS frontline staff will be required to work at an even greater pace and intensity and it is vital that their hard work and dedication is recognised. This award does nothing to support that view."

Nurses and other NHS staff will enjoy a slightly larger rise as they are part way through a three-year pay deal which means their salaries are rising by more than 2% annually.

Nurses and other NHS staff will enjoy a slightly larger rise as they are part way through a three-year pay deal which means their salaries are rising by more than 2% annually.



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