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Doctors' union denies 108% wages hike

Dr John D Woods, chair of the BMA in Northern Ireland
Seann Graham

THE biggest doctors' union in Northern Ireland has denied claims its chairman has received a massive 108 per cent pay rise.

Dr John D Woods, who heads up the local branch of the British Medical Association (BMA) is reported to be earning 62,631 for his role - in addition to his consultant's wage at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

The medic's counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales are also reported to have received similar salary hikes in excess of 90 per cent.

But the BMA, which represents around 153,000 doctors and medical students across the NHS - of which 5,500 are in the north - said a large portion of their pay is put back into the NHS as "compensation" to their employers for the time they are not practising medicine.

Dr Woods, who is a kidney specialist and employed as a consultant nephrologist, was unavailable for comment.

Instead a BMA spokeswoman said that holding the position of chair can be a "full-time role" and that it was "only right that these increasing demands are appropriately recognised".

It is not clear however if Dr Woods is currently holding a full-time position as chair.

"As the recognised leaders of their profession the BMA's chief officers are active, practising doctors," added the spokeswoman.

"BMA Council and its remuneration committee made its decision in 2014 - without the input or even the presence of those officers affected. In most cases some of the financial package is paid to the doctors' employers in order to release them to attend work on behalf of the profession.

"If we are to have the right people in the job, it is vital that they are not discouraged from doing so because of financial penalties.

"The levels of pay were recommended by the BMA's Remuneration Committee, independent of the chief officers, with oversight from the BMA's audit committee and the oversight and finance committee."

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