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Consultants accept government pay offer

Published on: 5 Apr 2024

Medical consultants in England have voted to accept the government’s latest pay offer, union leaders have announced, ending an unprecedented period of strike action by the senior doctors. 

The revised deal, backdated to 1 March, will see most consultants receive uplifts of 2.9-12.8 per cent, on top of a previously announced 6 per cent pay award for 2023-24.

Eighty-three per cent of British Medical Association consultant members voted to accept the offer on a 62 per cent turnout. The smaller Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association said 84 per cent of those who voted said “yes”.

It comes after consultants narrowly rejected a similar offer in January

New commitments since then from the government include reform of the doctors’ and dentists’ remuneration body, with an increased role for trade unions and a requirement to “consider international comparators and long-term trends in the wider labour market” when recommending doctors’ pay.

The government’s latest proposal also reduces the time to reach the top of pay scales and promises to reduce the gender pay gap.

BMA consultants committee chair Vishal Sharma said: “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.”

Junior doctors remain in dispute with the government and have a recently refreshed mandate for strike action.

Meanwhile, the DDRB – and other pay review bodies – are due to make recommendations in the coming months for 2024-25 pay deals, which are again likely to prove controversial.

Consultants held four multi-day walkouts between July and October, in an unprecedented move, coinciding with junior doctors’ strikes on two occasions.