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Pay of medical directors and senior ICS managers to be reviewed

Published on: 1 Dec 2021

The government has asked the senior salaries review body to “give particular consideration” to the pay of medical directors and very senior managers at integrated care systems as part of the 2022-23 pay round.

The request came in a letter from health and social care secretary Sajid Javid to the SSRB, asking them to provide a pay recommendation for very senior managers in the NHS, as well as executive and senior managers in the Department of Health and Social Care’s arm’s-length bodies.

Mr Javid also wrote similar letters to the review body on doctors’ and dentists’ remuneration and the NHS pay review body, which covers Agenda for Change staff.

The former makes specific requests to review consultant pay and GP “pay scales”.

The letter to the SSRB explained: “Independent consultants at NHS England and NHS Improvement are putting together proposals for the revised VSM pay framework – please review their proposals, giving particular consideration to the pay of medical directors and the alignment of the new integrated care board VSMs within the framework.”

The letter said: “The government must balance the need to ensure fair pay for public sector workers while protecting funding for frontline services and ensuring affordability for taxpayers.

”We must ensure that the affordability of a pay award is taken into consideration to ensure that the NHS and DHSC’s ALBs are able to recruit, retain and motivate its senior workforce, as well as deliver on other key priorities, including tackling elective recovery.”

However, significantly, the letter did not include the statement in the other two letters, reading: ”As the NHS budget has already been set until 2024 to 2025, it is vital that planned workforce growth is affordable and within the budgets set, particularly as there is a direct relationship between pay and staff numbers.”

The government recently commissioned General Sir Gordon Messenger to review NHS leadership and included pay levels in the remit of his work. 

In May, the DHSC provided evidence to the SSRB showing VSM pay had fallen by 5 per cent in recent years. However, in July the government announced senior managers would not be among those who receive the 3 per cent pay rise announced for most NHS staff.

The letter to the DDRB asks it to ”make recommendations on an annual pay award for consultants.” 

It adds: ”In 2019 we reached a multi-year agreement for doctors and dentists in training so the government is not asking the DDRB to make a pay recommendation for this group.”

The government is also not seeking a recommendation for GP pay.

However, it adds: “We do, however, invite you to make recommendations on uplifts to the maximum and minimum of the salaried General Medical Practitioner pay scales. As ever, recommendations will need to be informed by affordability and the fixed contract resources available to practices under the five-year GP contract.”