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DO DOCTORS REALLY GET PAID TOO MUCH?

20-04-2007

It’s the ultimate worker’s dream - a 25% pay increase for less work. And according to the National Audit Office that’s precisely the deal handed to consultants by the government. Dr David Nicholl, a neurologist at City Hospital in Birmingham wonders why he isn’t feeling more flush.

I am a public servant so I feel the public has a right to know how much they pay me, and what they get in return.

According to yesterdays’ news, hospital consultants like me get paid an average £110,000 per year for working less hours.

Sounds like a dream job - more money, less work. I only wish it were true. I look at my payslip and see the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I am well paid but I feel that at £96,000 per year gross (works out at £5000 per month) I am worth every penny and my salary is comparable with dentists and solicitors.

I should point out that £96,000 is above my basic salary as I have earned some extra brownie points for delivering high quality care (clinical excellence awards - £6000 per year). That means my basic pay is £90,000 - not bad, but nowhere near the £110,000 that’s been reported.

The real problem with this goes back to when the government negotiated the contract. They had this assumption that hospital consultants all drive Bentleys and played a lot of golf - I do neither of these things.

However I have spent weeks when I was on a 1 night in 4 on-call rota - and it was galling to know that I was earning less per hour than the cleaner as I wasn’t actually being paid for my on-call.

All the same, if you think I get paid too much, I don’t have a problem with that - why not get people like me to pay more income tax? It would be equitable, and with all these wars and PFI projects to pay for, the money has to come from somewhere.

No, what really galls me is not the debate about the money, but saying I work less. Forget the National Audit Office who produced the report, try asking my wife!

Just take one of my jobs - my training role for the recruitment of budding neurologists and Modernisng Medical Careers which regular Stirrer readers will be aware has taken up much of my time.

How much do I get paid for this work, which takes up 6-8 hours per week over and above my usual NHS work. Take a wild guess?

The answer is nothing, not a single penny. That’s right, I actually do it because I feel it is important work and “somebody has to do it”. Maybe I should apply for some more brownie points!

So you can slag off my salary, even tax me more but don’t call me lazy - or I will set my wife on you!

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