They’ll take industrial action on 24th and 25th August
Hospital consultants have announced fresh strikes in the long-running dispute over pay in the NHS.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said consultants in England, who will strike on Thursday and Friday this week, will also walk out on August 24 and 25.
The BMA said its announcement was in response to the Government imposing “another real-terms pay cut” on doctors last week.
BMA leaders said the pay award amounted to a “derisory, sub-inflation” increase of less than 6% for consultants, once all elements of pay were considered.
Consultants in England had already announced strikes on July 20 and 21 unless the Government made an offer aimed at reversing the 35% pay erosion the BMA said they have experienced over the past few years.
The fresh strike will once again be based on Christmas Day levels of cover, meaning emergency care will still be provided.
Dr Vishal Sharma, who chairs the BMA consultants committee, said: “The Government has once again imposed a savage real-terms pay cut on consultants.
“When inflation is running at more than 11%, this is nothing short of insulting. Consultants have always been clear that industrial action is a last resort but in the face of a Government intent on devaluing consultants’ expertise and their lack of regard for the impact this is having on the NHS, we have been left with no choice.
“We’ve had our pay cut year after year, put our lives on the line during a pandemic and now are managing a record backlog of care.
“The Prime Minister says cutting these waiting lists is a priority but then undermines his own policy by showing he doesn’t value those charged with delivering it. Cutting pay once again shows the Government’s complete disregard for the profession.
“Meanwhile, there can be no better demonstration of the need to reform the pay review system for doctors than our pay review body recommending a further real-terms pay cut on top of the successive pay cuts over the last 15 years, at a point when the profession has been pushed to take industrial action and are leaving the NHS.”
The BMA warned that as well as next month’s walkout, further dates will be announced in due course as consultants “are in this for the long haul”.
The announcement was made as junior doctors in England continued with a five-day strike which ends on Tuesday.