Physiotherapy staff across England and Wales will vote on industrial action after overwhelmingly rejecting this year’s NHS pay award.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) said almost 80% of those voting in England said they were prepared to take industrial action, with 83% in Wales.
The CSP Council is recommending members vote in support of action following a decision already taken to ballot in Scotland.
The votes will be the first time in the CSP’s century-plus history that its members will have been balloted over pay.
Its council chairman Alex Mackenzie said a recent pay award was less than half the current rate of inflation for most staff.
He said: “At a time when recruitment and retention is so vital to the NHS, and physiotherapy services are so crucial to reducing waiting lists and delivering high quality services, we cannot afford to lose staff due to pay.
“Considering industrial action is always a last resort for NHS staff who are dedicated to their patients, their colleagues and the services they provide.
“The CSP has never held an industrial action ballot for pay across England and Wales and such a decision is always taken with great reluctance.
“However, CSP members have indicated that unless there is an improved pay award they will consider industrial action.
“Any action will of course ensure that critical to life services are maintained.
“In light of this decision we would urge the governments in England and Wales to open talks to discuss an improved award that could avoid a damaging dispute and offer all NHS workers the pay rise they need and deserve.”
The CSP said it is working closely with other health unions on the dispute.