BMA strike: Senior doctors to walk out for 48 hours in July over pay dispute - strike dates
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NHS consultants in England have voted to strike in their long-standing dispute with the government over pay. British Medical Association members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action, with 86% backing the move.
This means the senior doctors will be absent from work for 48 hours on July 20 and July 21. It comes after a five-day walkout by junior physicians, which is expected to cause significant disruption to services and cancellation of procedures from July 14.
During their own walkout, consultants will give "Christmas Day cover," which means emergency care will be provided with a very limited amount of routine work.
BMA consultants committee chair, Dr Vishal Sharma, said the vote showed how "furious" they were at being repeatedly devalued by the government. He said: "Consultants don’t want to have to take industrial action, but have been left with no option in the face of a government that continues to cut our pay year after year."
Following the result, BMA said in a statement: “This result demonstrates the strength of feeling among consultants: there is absolutely no justification for consultants today being valued a third less than they were 15 years ago. It also sends a clear sign to the Government that our pay must be fixed now and for the future.
“Unless Ministers come back to us with a credible offer, we plan to call 48 hours of action from 7am on Thursday 20 July.”
According to the BBC, consultant pay has decreased by 27% since 2008 when RPI inflation is factored in, but according to the BMA, take-home pay has decreased by 35% when tax and pension contributions are considered.
This is largely due to the freezing of income tax thresholds and the introduction of an additional 45% tax rate for the wealthiest earners. In 2022, the average NHS salary for consultants exceeded £126,000, which includes additional pay for additional hours and performance.
Consultants, unlike junior physicians, do not demand full pay restoration all at once. Instead, they want the government to begin at least matching inflationary wage increases.
They received a 4.5% rise last year, which was less than half the rate of RPI inflation in the 12 months leading up to March. This year, no formal pay offer has been made.
Meanwhile, a ballot by the Royal College of Nursing failed to achieve a high enough turnout to give the union a mandate to continue its strike action in a result that was also announced on Tuesday.