Striking doctors will still be paid: As 1.25m appointments are cancelled, thousands of GPs won't lose a pennyAt least 40 per cent of doctors expected to strikeDispute is over doctors receiving a pension of 68,000At least nine of the 50 primary care trusts in England won't cut GPs' payThey include Buckingham and Oxfordshire, Bristol, Berkshire, DerbyshireNHS Stockport said it would find it too difficult to calculate any deductions
00:10 GMT, 19 June 2012
Thousands of family doctors will be paid despite striking on Thursday.
Health trusts have decided not to dock salaries even though the GPs will refuse to treat almost all their patients.
They claim that a day's pay – 430 to a typical GP on 110,000 a year – is merited because urgent cases will still be dealt with.
Strike action: British Medical Association members will go on strike over doctors receiving a 68,000 a year pension
But a practice chief at one NHS trust said: 'It is effectively saying to doctors – “You take what action you like, we will still pay you”.
'My colleagues and I are absolutely incensed. This is absolutely outrageous.'
Around 1.25million appointments, tests and operations will be cancelled when British Medical Association members take their industrial action over pensions.
With at least 40 per cent of doctors expected to strike, the impact will be felt in hospitals as well as local surgeries.
Daniel Poulter, a Tory MP who is also a hospital doctor, said: 'A doctors primary duty is to look after patients, and yet a strike will see operations cancelled, and patients lives being potentially put at risk.
'The public will be even more shocked to learn that doctors are still going to paid on the day that they strike. If they are going to strike on Thursday, doctors should hand back their pay.
Around 1.25million appointments, tests and operations will be cancelled when the industrial action takes place
'The public will not understand why doctors are striking over receiving a pension of 68,000. This is the kind of generous pension that many hard working people in both the public and private sector can only ever dream of receiving.'
Employers generally have the right to withhold pay from strikers or reduce it when only limited duties are performed.
But at least nine of the 50 primary care trusts in England have decided not to cut GPs' pay – largely because of the difficulty of doing so.
Although surgeries are funded by trusts, GPs are paid directly by the surgeries and are effectively self-employed.
The position is different for hospital doctors, who are employees. In most cases, they will lose pay unless they can make up the lost working hours in their own time.
None of the 25 organisations contacted by the Mail confirmed pay would be docked for family doctors.
Trusts not cutting pay include Buckingham and Oxfordshire, Bristol, Berkshire, Derbyshire, Nottingham, South-West Essex, Sussex and Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral.
Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley has urged GPs to consider opening their surgeries this Saturday to help deal with the backlog of appointments
NHS Stockport said it was highly unlikely any pay would be deducted. Its spokesman said trusts would find it too difficult to calculate any deductions.
Dean Royles, head of NHS Employers, which advises health managers, said: 'The way doctors work can be complex and many will continue to treat emergency and urgent cases, so many organisations have put processes in place for pay as part of their contingency plans to ensure safe care on the day of action.
'This will often involve a proportionate deduction recognising pay for partial performance on the day.
'Many staff will not be participating in the action and will be paid as normal.'
Mr Royles confirmed that doctors would not have pay docked if they managed to slot in clinics on Friday morning, for example, when they may have otherwise have been doing paperwork.
They would then have to do these administrative chores in their spare time.
Some hospitals, however, are planning to cut between 30 and 50 per cent of salaries for Thursday for those that take part.
Other sites have decided to pay doctors nothing. Last week Andrew Lansley urged GPs to consider opening their surgeries this Saturday to help deal with the backlog of appointments.
In a letter to Hamish Meldrum, the BMA's chair of council, the Health Secretary pointed out that 'today's routine appointments can become tomorrows emergencies'.
Responding to the letter, Dr Meldrum insisted that patient safety would not be put in jeopardy.
'Tens of thousands of grassroots doctors feel so strongly that the changes to their pension scheme are unfair and unnecessary that they have decided to take industrial action – the first time in almost 40 years,' he added.
'This is why doctors will be in their usual workplaces and patient safety remains their top priority.'
The BMA has not confirmed whether any GPs are planning to work on Saturday but insists any lost work will be made up at a later date
It is highly unlikely that they will take Mr Lansley's advice however as most have not worked at weekends since 2004 when a contract negotiated by Labour enabled them to opt out.
Doctors say they already pay a far higher proportion of their salaries into their pensions than other NHS workers.
A BMA spokesman said the decision whether to pay striking doctors lay with individual trusts.