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Consultants set July strike dates

Published on: 7 Jun 2023

Hospital consultants in England will walk out for two days in July if their ongoing strike ballot is successful, they have said.

The British Medical Association announced the strike action would take place on 20 and 21 July, subject to the ballot and government not coming forward with a “credible offer”.

Its ballot of consultants ends on 27 June.

If strikes go ahead, the BMA said it would provide “Christmas Day cover”, meaning members would work to keep minimal emergency services open, but not elective care.

In a “consultative” ballot of BMA medical consultant members earlier this year, 86 per cent said they would be “prepared to strike over the failure to address the ongoing pensions crisis and cuts to their pay”, on a 61 per cent turnout — suggesting a yes vote is very likely.

It comes as junior doctors are poised to stage a three-day walkout later beginning at 7am on 14 June and concluding on the morning of 17 June. HSJ also revealed this morning that more than 800 consultants in London have said they will not cover the upcoming junior doctors’ strikes unless their trusts agree to pay higher overtime rates.

BMA’s consultants committee chair Vishal Sharma said: “Strike action is not inevitable and it is well within the government’s gift to present us with a reasonable offer that would stop industrial action in its tracks…

“We know consultants do not take decisions around industrial action lightly, but this isn’t just about pay – it’s about protecting the future of the NHS. If we sit by and accept further real-terms pay cuts we will continue to lose more of our most senior and experienced clinicians at a time when the NHS and patients need them most.”

The BMA’s announcement of industrial action is the latest in a series of walkouts by junior doctors, nurses and ambulance staff over pay and working conditions.

The government is implementing a pay deal it has agreed with Agenda for Change staff this summer, but ministers have not reached an agreement with the Royal College of Nursing, nor several smaller AfC unions, nor with junior doctors or consultants.

The medical trade union described the government’s previous 5 per cent offer to junior doctors as “paltry” ahead of announcing the dates of its June walkout.