The British Dental Association and British Medical Association have issued a joint call for fundamental reform of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB).
Dental and medical leaders have stated the DDRB's role to guarantee the independence of pay awards has been eroded over time, and the current process is no longer acceptable to their professions. GDPs in England still do not have clarity on whether the anticipated 2% uplift will be delivered from 1 October.
In a joint statement both associations have set out key principles that need to underpin the reform process, and raised these issues directly to government in open letters to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP.
BDA and BMA joint statement on reform of the DDRB
The Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB) advises governments in Westminster, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh on rates of pay for doctors and dentists.
The British Dental Association is the trade union and professional association for dentists. The British Medical Association is the trade union and professional association for doctors.
The DDRB was established following the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration in 1960. The Commission stated that such a body was necessary in order to give the medical and dental professions "some assurance that their standards of living will not be depressed by arbitrary Government action", as well as achieving "the settlement of remuneration without public dispute". The view expressed by the Royal Commission was that this "procedure will in fact, therefore, give the professions a valuable safeguard. Their remuneration will be determined, in practice, by a group of independent persons of standing and authority not committed to the Government's point of view."
Each year both the BDA and BMA provide evidence to the DDRB as part of the process for determining the annual pay uplift for dentists and doctors.
However, the view of the BMA and BDA is that the DDRB process has been modified beyond recognition from its original purpose. This has been developing over a number of years, but is now clearly no longer acceptable to the medical and dental professions. The BMA and BDA believe it is now time for fundamental reform of the pay review process for doctors and dentists, on the basis of the following principles:
- Restitution of the DDRB's independence and return to its original purpose.
- Revision of its terms of reference to narrow the DDRB's focus purely on pay uplifts rather than making recommendations on wider contractual matters.
- Clear timetables for submission of evidence and publications of the report, and an undertaking that government(s) must not fetter the parameters of the DDRB's recommendations.
- Re-establishment of the undertaking that government(s) will respect and implement the DDRB's recommendations.