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Second consultants strike announced

Published on: 17 Jul 2023

A second two day walk-out by NHS consultants will take place on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 August, unless the ongoing dispute is settled before then, the British Medical Association has announced.

If the strike goes ahead it will cause disruption on the two working days before the August Bank holiday weekend.

The NHS’s first consultant strike is due to take place on Thursday and Friday this week. Junior doctors are currently staging an unprecedented five day walk-out which will finish tomorrow.

The BMA statement said: “The strike will once again be based on Christmas Day levels of cover, meaning emergency care will still be provided.”

A letter published by NHS England and the BMA last week suggests very little planned (elective care) will be carried out during the consultant strikes, with many high-priority operations and cancer procedures likely to be cancelled, as no other staff can substitute for consultants’ role in ensuring safe care. Urgent and cancer procedures have often gone ahead during junior doctors’ strikes.

Referring to the 6 per cent pay rise for doctors announced last week, BMA consultants committee chair Vishal Sharma, said: “The Government has once again imposed a savage real terms pay cut on consultants…

“This ‘final offer’ and flat refusal to engage in further talks has left us with no option but to continue our action. We have therefore announced further strike dates in August and will announce further dates in due course. We will have always tried to give as much notice of dates as possible in order to help our colleagues prepare and minimise the impact on patients. But the Government must also understand that we will continue to stand up for consultants and, if necessary, are in this for the long haul. More than 80 per cent of consultants in our ballot voted for industrial action and this week’s announcement will only strengthen their resolve.”

The prime minister last week said there would be no further pay talks with the doctors. Inflation is currently about 8.7 per cent. Senior managers will receive a 5 per cent uplift this year, as will Agenda for Change staff.