Nurses 'disgusted' as doctors reach bumper pay deal with government as they warn of more strikes

28 November 2023, 00:32 | Updated: 28 November 2023, 07:37

Nurses are angry at doctors being awarded a bumper pay deal
Nurses are angry at doctors being awarded a bumper pay deal. Picture: Alamy

By Natasha Clark and Will Taylor

Nurses are "incredibly disappointed" and "disgusted" that doctors have been given a bigger pay rise after they thrashed out a deal with the government.

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The chief nurse of the Royal College of Nursing, Nicola Ranger, said she was outraged to see the agreement and has warned it could make future strikes more likely.

About 55,000 consultants are set to be balloted on whether to accept a deal following talks with the government, which will see their pay bands restructured. If accepted, it will take effect from January.

The number of bands would shrink from 19 down to 14, and will make it easier for them to go up a band - effectively making pay rises happen faster.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, former health minister Lord Bethell said the ramifications of a pay deal with consultants will be "immense".

"These strikes have shown these senior consultants are absolutely critical to the running of the NHS, and their strike really has hit the system hard."

Lord Bethel said senior consultants are "leadership figures" who make some of the hard decisions.

But, he went on to warn "the ramifications of the deal are immense and I think there are big problems down the road."

Former Health Minister: The consequences of the new pay deal for NHS consultants are 'immense

Doctors had gone on strike over pay
Doctors had gone on strike over pay. Picture: Alamy

"[I am] incredibly disappointed, pretty disgusted and pretty outraged that once again the real value of nursing is not being recognised financially by this government," Ranger told LBC's Iain Dale.

"So, a huge sense of disappointment."

She told The Times: "It's galling that almost 12 months since nursing staff took the unprecedented decision to strike, our pay dispute remains unresolved and the government continues to undervalue our profession.

"Today's news will ignite our members' fury further, making nursing strikes more likely in the future."

The doctors' contracts haven't been renegotiated since 2003.

There will be extra cash for the deal, which was announced on Monday between the Government, the BMA and the HCSA union.

Victoria Atkins, the new health secretary, met with the unions in her first week in the job.

Nurses could strike again, the government has been warned, over a pay deal with doctors
Nurses could strike again, the government has been warned, over a pay deal with doctors. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Train strikes: Full list of December 2023 dates and rail lines affected

Read More: Sunak: NHS strikes ‘holding back progress’ on cutting waiting lists

It has led to hopes that the ongoing strikes with junior doctors could also be resolved - though whether it instead triggers strikes among other professions remains to be seen.

"I hugely value the work of NHS consultants and am pleased that we have been able to make this fair and reasonable offer after weeks of constructive negotiations," Atkins said.

"If accepted, it will modernise pay structures, directly addressing gender pay issues in the NHS. It will also enhance consultants’ parental leave options.

"Putting an end to this strike action will support our efforts to bring down waiting lists and offer patients the highest quality care."

About 150,000 doctors in England were given a pay rise earlier after Steve Barclay, the heath secretary, decided to impose a 6% pay rise for consultants and an average of 8.8% for junior doctors.

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