NHS advisers could strike this summer after their pleas for an inflation-fighting pay rise were rejected.
The British Medical Association (BMA) claimed that take-home pay is 35 per cent lower than it was 15 years ago and called for an offer that ‘somewhat made up for the decline we’ve seen’.
However, the ministers have refused to accede to such demands.
BMA officials are now voting with thousands of advisers on whether to strike in the coming months, in a move that could see them join young doctors and nurses on picket lines and add to the chorus of chaos that the ailing health service is bringing. flooded in recent times. past six months.
Waiting lists for routine surgery have reached a record high of 7.33 million.
The BMA doctors’ union warned that strikes by consultants would be far more damaging than recent strikes by young doctors (pictured are young doctors protesting outside Southend University Hospital on April 14)
Dr. Vishal Sharma (pictured), chair of the BMA consultants committee, said consultants’ take-home pay has fallen by ’35 percent since 2008/09′
Insiders fear that the running away of consultants will create even more carnage than those orchestrated by the BMA’s thousands of junior doctors.
Consultants can provide emergency assistance to junior colleagues, helping hospitals to feel less tense during days of action.
But because the opposite agreement is currently not allowed within the NHS, tens of thousands more appointments and surgeries could be cancelled.
A union source told me The Telegraph a strike by advisers would be ‘catastrophic’ for the NHS.
Consultants earn an average of £128,000 a year, according to the Department of Health.
Dr. Vishal Sharma, chair of the BMA consultants committee, said: ‘We have seen our net pay fall by 35 per cent since 2008/9 and this is before considering the impact of this year’s rising inflation.
‘As a result, consultants now effectively work for free for four months a year.’
He said the union hoped over the weekend that a wage proposal would have come in that “somewhat made up for the drop.”
“Unfortunately, however, given that inflation remains in the double digits, the government’s latest offer meant another real wage cut,” Dr Sharma added.
“On the back of 15 years in which our wages have fallen, we simply could not accept a deal that continued this downward trend, and we have no choice but to continue the vote for industrial action today.”
The vote of 40,000 consultants closes on June 27.
The BMA will be required to give 14 days’ notice of any strike action, if voted for.
It has not been confirmed by the BMA or the government what exactly the wage demands are.
But the BMA’s committee of junior doctors pushed for a 35 percent increase based on data showing they had endured a real-world cut of 26 percent.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘We really appreciate the work of NHS consultants and they received a 4.5% pay rise last financial year, which increased the average income to around £128,000.
Official NHS figures on the number of patients waiting for treatment are likely to be exacerbated by the three-day strike by junior doctors in March, which saw the cancellation of more than 175,000 patient appointments and surgeries
Official figures showed that 7.33 million people were waiting for surgeries such as hip and knee replacements at the end of March. The backlog has risen from 7.22 million in February, marking the highest total since NHS registrations began in August 2007. Nearly 360,000 patients have waited a year for their routine treatment, often while in pain.
They will also benefit from generous pension tax changes announced at Budget and be eligible for additional financial awards worth up to £40,000 a year as part of the NHS consultant contract.
“We urge the BMA to carefully consider the likely impact of any action on patients.”
It comes after the nursing union leader yesterday demanded a double-digit pay rise amid threats of more strikes that would last until Christmas.
Pat Cullen, head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), previously advised members to accept a five per cent pay rise offered by the government – before 54 per cent voted against.
In a reversal from her previous position, Ms Cullen said new talks on a percentage pay rise are needed to ‘start with double digits’. The union will again vote its members for further strike action on May 23.
Minister Grant Shapps yesterday said her position was “confusing”.
The majority of unions making up the NHS staff council voted earlier this month to accept the five per cent pay agreement and a one-off bonus of up to £3,789 for last year.
But RCN members voted against the recommendation and so will continue to push for a higher wage increase.
The new threat of strike chaos comes at a time when NHS backlogs are bigger than ever.
Official figures show that 7.33 million people were waiting for operations such as hip and knee replacements at the end of March.
The backlog has risen from 7.22 million in February, marking the highest total since NHS registrations began in August 2007.