Skip to main content

BMA issues ‘unaffordable’ medical locum rate card

Published on: 30 Jan 2023

The British Medical Association has issued a locum pay rate card for junior doctors, which trust bosses have described as ‘unaffordable’ and ‘unilateral’.

The guidance – which appears to be the first the union has issued for doctors in training – suggests they ask for minimum rates of up to £150 per hour (see image below).

It states: “Junior doctors are within their rights to negotiate their own rates of pay and are not obliged to undertake this work if they deem the rates of pay to be inadequate. This rate card and guidance sets out the minimum rate at which the British Medical Association would advise a junior doctor to work a locum shift for an NHS trust.”

The BMA says the current card, which has been sent to members in recent days, is valid until April and that rates will be revised.

They are substantially above what is currently paid by many trusts for the relevant grades/shift, and a senior NHS HR source said they were “unaffordable”.

It comes with junior doctors planning to strike for 72 hours if an ongoing ballot on industrial action is successful.

The latest move also follows major tensions last year over rate cards issued for medical consultants, which resulted in trust CEOs accusing the BMA of “acting like football agents” for inflating extra shift pay, amid high demand for extra work.

The recommended hourly minimum rates for consultants – who typically early significantly more than junior doctors – went up to £250.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer told HSJ: “The BMA’s approach to unilaterally setting rate cards for medical staff is not welcomed by our members.

“Clearly, however, health leaders recognise that other areas of concern including pensions taxation and the growing pay dispute between trade unions and the government need resolving.”

HSJ approached the BMA for comment on the junior doctor card and has not received a response.

Speaking about the consultants’ rate card last year, the union said leaders were “overworking and undervaluing” their consultants, working to suppress pay and argued the current rates of pay did not “adequately reflect the skills, experience and responsibility of consultants”.

The union has said there has been a 26 per cent decline in the value of junior doctors’ pay over the past 15 years and called for this to be reversed.