NHS consultants end pay dispute after accepting fresh government pay offer

5 April 2024, 11:14 | Updated: 5 April 2024, 13:22

NHS consultants have agreed a deal to end long-running pay dispute
NHS consultants have agreed a deal to end long-running pay dispute. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

Consultants in England have voted to accept a government pay deal - bringing to an end the dispute which had led to strike action.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The British Medical Association (BMA), a trade union which has been representing senior doctors during the year-long pay dispute - put the offer to its members, with 83 per cent voting in favour.

Consultants who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) have backed a fresh pay deal.

The offer will mean some consultants will receive a pay increase of nearly 20% for the financial year 2023-24.

Junior doctors in England remain in dispute with ministers over pay, and have a fresh mandate to strike.

The offer will mean some consultants will receive a pay increase of nearly 20 per cent for the financial year 2023-24.
The offer will mean some consultants will receive a pay increase of nearly 20 per cent for the financial year 2023-24. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Tube strikes called off after talks between union and TfL

Read More: Schools could face teacher strikes in autumn term over pay, union leader warns

The BMA said the offer includes important changes which represents "significant progress" in returning the pay review body to its "original purpose and independence".

It said that from next year, there will be changes to the way the review body will appoint members, and the Government will no longer be able to constrain its remit with reference to inflation targets and economic evidence.

The BMA added that the changes mean the doctors' pay review body can "no longer ignore the historical losses that doctors have suffered or the fact that countries abroad are competing for UK doctors with the offer of significantly higher salaries.

"The offer also improves on the previous proposal to reform the consultant pay scale."

The deal includes a 2.85 per cent (£3,000) uplift for those who have been consultants between four and seven years, who under the original offer received no additional uplift, said the BMA.

The offer is in addition to the six per cent awarded last summer.

Dr Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA consultants committee, said: "The last year has seen consultants take unprecedented strike action in our fight to address our concerns about pay and how the supposedly independent pay review process was operating.

"After years of repeated real-terms pay cuts, caused by Government interference and a failure of the pay review process, consultants have spoken and now clearly feel that this offer is enough of a first step to address our concerns to end the current dispute.

"However, it's now imperative that the DDRB (pay review body) utilises its independence to restore doctors' pay and prevent any further disputes from arising.

"We've reached this point not just through our tough negotiations with the Government, but thanks to the resolve of consultants, who took the difficult decision to strike, and did so safely and effectively, on multiple occasions, sending a clear message that they would not back down.

"At the heart of this dispute was our concern for patients and the future sustainability of the NHS. Without valuing doctors, we lose them. Without doctors, we have no NHS and patients suffer.

"But the fight is not yet over. This is only the end of the beginning, and we have some way to go before the pay consultants have lost over the last 15 years has been restored. Therefore, all eyes will be on this year's pay review round, recommendations from the DDRB and response from the Government."

Members of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) also voted - by 83% - to accept the offer.

President Dr Naru Narayanan said: "Our members' resilience and courage has seen them secure long overdue improvements to pay.

"This is the best deal available right now and a step firmly in the right direction.

"We will continue to ensure that consultants' enormous contribution to the NHS is properly recognised. This will include holding the Government to account on the implementation of reforms to the pay review body.

"It is now time for the Government to step up and make our junior and SAS doctor colleagues fair pay offers.

Members of the BMA on the picket line last year
Members of the BMA on the picket line last year. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Junior doctors walk out for five-day strike amid long-standing pay row, in latest round of NHS industrial action

Read More: Nurses' fury as consultants reach pay deal with government that could end strikes

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "NHS leaders will breathe a sigh of relief to know that there will be no further damaging industrial action from NHS consultants for the foreseeable future.

"The health service relies heavily on its consultant workforce and these professionals have helped to keep the most life-critical services afloat including over the difficult winter period and the recent junior doctors' walkouts.

"But the potential for further junior doctor strikes looms large, which could lead to more operations and appointments being cancelled and place more pressure on already stretched services.

"While NHS organisations have worked tirelessly to fill rota gaps and keep patients safe, more than 1.4 million appointments and operations have been cancelled over the last year of industrial action, with even more patients joining waiting lists.

"This agreement between the BMA consultant committee and Government shows that a sensible middle ground can be reached through negotiations, and we urge the BMA junior doctors' committee and Government to quickly re-enter negotiations to reach a similar agreement to stop further damaging strike action by junior doctors."

Despite this breakthrough, the government and BMA remain a long way from solving the junior doctors' pay dispute.

The BMA has a fresh six-month strike mandate after talks collapsed late last year. However, no new strike dates have been announced yet.

Junior doctors in Northern Ireland and Wales remain in dispute with the government over pay and have taken

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Phillips headshot

Mystery of 'Bushman' dad-of-three who went missing with children - before robbing bank at gunpoint

The PM accused Sir Keir of trying to "entrench his power" by lowering the voting age

Rishi Sunak accuses Keir Starmer of only wanting to lower voting age to 'entrench his power'

Pressure signals could be used to locate the missing plane

Major breakthrough in MH370 mystery as nuclear sensor picks up crucial sound

Sir Ian McKellen was taken to hospital after he fell from the stage during a West End performance

Sir Ian McKellen 'in good spirits' and expected to make 'speedy and full recovery' after falling off stage

Sir Ian McKellen has been taken to hospital after he fell from the stage during a West End performance

Sir Ian McKellen rushed to hospital after falling off stage during West End performance

Dario G star Paul Spencer

Dario G star Paul Spencer dies aged 53 following cancer diagnosis

Reform chairman Richard Tice was speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr.

'Take them back to France': Reform will have 'standoff' with French over illegal migrants if needed, says Richard Tice

The teen was helping cut the tree down as a summer job.

Pictured: Boy, 16, crushed by 30ft tree just a day after finishing final GCSE exam - as three arrested

Police hunt 21-year-old man following death of boy, 12 in shocking hit-and-run

Manhunt for Coventry hit-and-run suspect continues following death of boy, 12, as police urge public to 'do the right thing'

Parts of the UK face severe rainfall next week, dramatic weather maps suggest

Thunderstorms set to drench Britain with 10 days worth of rain failing in just three hours

Fury erupted after the cow was rammed by a police car

Let us not be hypocrites when we look at the shocking case of the runaway cow

'I didn't expect to die today': Heartbreaking film hopes to keep teenagers out of open water danger

'I didn't expect to die today': Heartbreaking film hopes to keep teenagers out of open water danger

Prince William seen at a procession for the annual Garter Day service

William beams during Order of the Garter procession as royals join King and Queen at Windsor Castle

The parkour runner damaged the UNESCO World Heritage Site building in Italy in a parkour stunt

Shocking footage captures parkour runner damaging UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy

Defendant Josef Fritzl, center, is escorted to the fourth day of his trial in the provincial courthouse in St. Poelten, Austria, Thursday, March 19, 2009.

Incest monster Josef Fritzl placed under legal guardianship amid worsening dementia

Rod Stewart (pictured on stage in Copenhagen on Sunday June 9) was booed by German fans for supporting Ukraine

Rod Stewart defends show of support for Ukraine after booing at Germany concert