Senior doctors’ strike could end after new pay offer from government

Politics

A new pay offer has been made to NHS consultants which could end long-running strike action in England.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said it would see most senior doctors get an extra 4.95% “investment in pay” for this financial year, on top of the 6% annual rise already awarded.

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The offer also involves changes to the pay scale structure and a commitment to reform the pay review body that makes recommendations on doctors’ wages.

The BMA will now put the offer to its members for a vote, with the changes paid retrospectively from April 2024 if accepted.

Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chair, said: “We are pleased that after a month of intense talks and more than six months of strike action we never wanted to take, we have now got an offer we can put to members.

“It is a huge shame that it has needed consultants to take industrial action to get the Government to this point when we called for talks many months ago.”

He said the commitment to reforming the pay review process “has been a key ask from the profession throughout our dispute”, adding: “Only by restoring the independence of this process can we hope to restore consultant pay over the coming years.”

The deal comes just two weeks after the new health secretary Victoria Atkins took over the job from Steve Barclay.

She said if accepted, the offer will “bring down waiting lists and offer patients highest quality care”.

More than one million appointments have had to be rescheduled as a result of strike action, jeopardising the government’s pledge to bring down soaring NHS waiting lists.

A deal has still not been reached with junior doctors, who have been involved in numerous walkouts over the past year.

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