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Consultants to vote on 12.8% pay uplift after government strikes deal with BMA

The British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) have struck a deal with the government after months of pay disputes.

The British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) have struck a deal with the government after months of pay disputes.

If union members vote in favour of the pay offer, from January 2024, the majority of consultants will receive a pay uplift of 12.8%.

This is on top of the 6% they were offered this financial year, meaning most consultants could see their pay rise by around 18%.

The BMA says the offer makes provision for ‘much-needed changes’ to the consultants’ pay-scale structure, which will see consultants reach the top of the pay scale five years sooner than under the current scheme.

However, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says nursing staff will be “appalled” by the announcement and where it leaves them.

Pay offer for consultants will further ignite nurses’ fury

RCN Chief Nurse Professor Nicola Ranger said: “The government has shown it has the political will to reform pay for some of the highest earners in the NHS – while our members are left with the lowest pay rise in the public sector.

“Nursing staff work closely with consultants, and we too have campaigned for years to have quicker progression through the pay scale. This would help recognise nurses’ safety-critical and lifesaving skills, and yet many spend most of their career stuck on the same NHS pay band.”

Prof Ranger is warning that this announcement will only ignite nurses’ fury further, making nursing strikes “more likely in the future.”

NHS leaders are hopeful that this development will set a precedent in other parts of the medical workforce which are in dispute with the government on pay.

“With winter around the corner, the last thing health leaders will want is fresh walkouts to lead to thousands more appointments and procedures needing to be cancelled during what is typically the NHS’s busiest time of the year,” said Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation.

“It is important that local budgets are protected for this and any further developments on pay and that the commitments in the Long Term Workforce Plan around growing the NHS’s headcount continue to be supported.

“Leaders recognise that the last year of strikes have been hugely challenging for the NHS’s workforce and so they are eager for these to be resolved as soon as possible,” he added.

New pay offer will particularly benefit women

Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chair says the union is “pleased” they are finally able to put an offer to their members.

As well as an improved pay offer, the BMA has persuaded the government to reform the pay review process to make it fully independent.

“How each consultant will benefit will depend on their individual circumstances, and we will be providing them with as much detail as we can, so they are able to look carefully through the details to help them decide whether to accept the offer,” Dr Sharma said.

The BMA says this new deal will extend rights for enhanced shared parental leave, and will particularly benefit women who take time out for caring responsibilities and who can be disadvantaged under the current system.

If the offer is accepted, the BMA will call an end to strike action and stop promoting the extra-contractual rate card for consultants in England.

However, a re-ballot on industrial action remains open until 18 December and, if passed and the offer is rejected, consultants will be able to call further strikes in 2024.

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