The party says it would abolish non-dom tax status – which is used by some UK residents to reduce their tax bill by stating that their primary home is abroad – and use the £1.1billion raised to pay hospital staff more overtime, so it can deliver 2million extra appointments a year.
But the policy could present unions with the opportunity to line their pockets by demanding premium rates demanded by the British Medical Association (BMA) to cover the additional overtime shifts needed to clear the 7.75million backlog.
The BMA advises consultants that they should charge at least £215 an hour for any overtime carried out between 7pm and 7am on Monday to Friday.
These rates are much higher than those traditionally agreed between doctors and the majority of NHS trusts for overtime cover.
Labour says it would abolish the non-dom tax status and use the £1.1billion raised to pay hospital staff more overtime, so they can deliver 2million extra appointments a year. Pictured: Labour leader Keir Starmer at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool on October 11
Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Dr James Steen, a BMA industrial relations officer and regional coordinator who sits on the national executive, said: ‘We can nationally agree an overtime tariff at BMA rate card, indexed to inflation for perpetuity, no problem’
But they have become increasingly widespread during recent industrial action, with medics accused of cashing in on walkouts by charging these premium BMA rates to cover striking colleages.
Now union leaders say Labour’s new policy offers them a further opportunity to line their pockets – and they will seek to push the rates up further every year.
Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Dr James Steen, a BMA industrial relations officer and regional co-ordinator who sits on its national executive, said: ‘We can nationally agree an overtime tariff… indexed to inflation for perpetuity, no problem.’
He also told members that such an agreement would not end the current pay row, which has seen medics walk out for 720 hours – the equivalent of a whole month – since March.
Junior doctors are seeking a 35 per cent pay rise and consultants want an above-inflation rise as a first step to real-terms pay restoration to 2008 levels.
The BMA ‘rate card’ for consultants says they should charge the NHS at least £215 per hour for overtime from 7am to 11pm on Saturday and Sunday and 7pm to 11pm weekdays.
It means they would earn at least £1,720 for an eight-hour shift.
Overnight work from 11pm to 7am should be billed at £269 an hour, or £2,152 for the shift, the union adds.
Some consultants have charged far more than this during the industrial action, with one earning £7,900 for a single shift, a Freedom of Information request revealed.
Critics of Labour’s policy say there is likely to be a shortage of doctors and nurses willing to take up the shifts as they are already worn out and over-stretched.
They have also have rubbished the claim by party leader Sir Keir Starmer that he could eliminate NHS waiting lists in one term without a substantial rise in funding.
A Conservative Party source said: ‘It is the same old Labour, trying to take the easy way out.
‘Labour plans would see the NHS face rip-off rates for overtime as well as continued demand by doctors for up to a 49 per cent increase in their basic pay – all of which would make inflation spiral, make ordinary hard-working people worse off, and hold back our economy, making it harder to fund public services like the NHS.
‘Only the Conservatives have a plan to support our NHS with long-term decisions for a brighter future with more staff and the latest technology to tackle waiting lists.’
The British Medical Association says consultants should charge at least £215 an hour for any overtime outside 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday. It means they stand to profit from record NHS waiting lists, which have soared to 7.75million as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and strikes. Pictured: NHS consultants on picket lines outside Leeds General Infirmary on in July 2023
England’s ever-growing backlog hit 7.75million in August — the equivalent of one in seven people. This includes nearly 400,000 stuck in the system for over a year, often in pain
Official data shows 1,141,089 appointments have been postponed since NHS industrial action — which has involved staff including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedics — kicked-off in December
In a survey published today by the polling firm Find Out Now, 57 per cent of existing NHS staff with relevant jobs to clear waiting lists said they were willing to work overtime at their current rate.
The figure rose to 87 per cent if they received an increased rate of pay.
A Labour spokesman rejected the doctors’ plans for a new national overtime rate in a move that risks sparking a row with the BMA.
He said: ‘This is completely false. We will not negotiate a national overtime rate equivalent to the BMA’s rate card.
‘Where hospitals are already doing weekend working, staff want to do shifts at the standard overtime rate, so they haven’t had to pay the BMA rate card.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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