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Doctors could demand more than £1,720 per shift to help clear the NHS backlog under Labour‘s plan to increase evening and weekend appointments.

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.’

What do the latest NHS performance figures show?

The overall waiting list grew by more than 65,000 to 7.75million in August. This is up from 7.68million in July. 

There were 265 people waiting more than two years to start treatment at the end of August, down from 277 in July. 

The number of people waiting more than a year to start hospital treatment was 396,643, up from 389,952 the previous month.

Some 33,107 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in September. The figure is up from 28,859 in August.

A total of 125,829 people waited at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission in September, up from 120,120 in August.

Just 71.6 per cent of patients were seen within four hours at A&Es last month. NHS standards set out that 95 per cent should be admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour window.

In September, the average category one response time – calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries – was 8 minutes and 31 seconds. The target time is seven minutes.

Ambulances took an average of 37 minutes and 38 seconds to respond to category two calls, such as burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is nearly twice as long as the 18 minute target.

Response times for category three calls – such as late stages of labour, non-severe burns and diabetes – averaged 2 hours, 15 minutes and 59 seconds. Nine in 10 ambulances are supposed to arrive to these calls within two hours.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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