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Consultants accept new offer

Consultants picketing near Bournemouth Royal Hospital in 2023. Photo Ajit Wick/shutterstock.com.

Hospital consultants in England have voted to accept a pay offer. The offer will see most consultants receive increases of between 2.9 and 12.8 per cent on top of 6 per cent already offered in November 2023.

The improved deal, after unprecedented strikes by consultants, is better for those with four to seven years’ experience as consultants. It includes reform of the doctors’ and dentists’ pay review body (DDRB), and reduces the time it takes consultants to move up pay scales.

Over 80 per cent of consultant members of the British Medical Association (BMA) voted to accept the new offer, with a similar level of support in the smaller Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA).

The chair of the BMA consultants committee, Dr Vishal Sharma, commented that the settlement was due to the “resolve of consultants, who took the difficult decision to strike, and did so safely and effectively, on multiple occasions”. He also said that it represented “the end of the beginning” of the campaign to restore pay levels to those of 2008.

The DDRB will be making recommendations for the 2024-25 pay round in the coming months. NHS England has made submissions to both the DDRB and the Agenda for Change pay review for NHS non-medical staff. It has warned that any future increase over the 2 per cent budgeted would risk staff and service cuts.